My little boy Sam is now two and a half years old. He has developed a new ability-the art of interogation. He asks pointed questions now. Some of these questions are designed to challenge my authority. Lately, in moments of discipline, when I give him instruction he will ask why. Of course, my response at this age and level of comprehension is “Because I said so! I am your Father!”
This morning I spent time in the book of Leviticus chapter 19. This is the source of the second part of the Jesus Creed. Verse 18 culminates the chapter with, “Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD”.
Have you ever noticed these statements in the Old Testament that end with “I am the Lord!”? I find them interesting. God does not say it often but when He does, He desparatley means it.
When I say to Sam, “Don’t stand on the dishwasher door” I have two things in clear view (neither of which Sam seems to appreciate at all): His health and the family check book. The door will break and his head could hit the tile and hurt himself badly. I also would have to replace the broken dishwasher, and it would be costly. In the moment I only need to say, “Because I am your Father”. Eventually he will come into a more full understanding about why it is in his as well as others best interests to obey me but for now its, “Because I am your father and I said so”.
Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) 18 "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Whenever God says, “I AM THE LORD!” It is for our benefit, and His strong approach at this point is designed to let us know that the avoidance of pain is to be found in obedience. After all, the reason why there is so much pain in the world today is because instead of simply saying, “Okay, Daddy”, we say “why” and find a million creative reasons to live lives of nonlove. The world is a cruel place of disobedience to this great command. Our Father greatly desires a different world and commands us to join Him in bringing it about.
All of us like my little Sam, are selfish children who must be taught to obey God’s command to love one another. To the degree we listen and obey, we experience God’s blessing and our lives take on higher levels of maturity and we reflect the image of God..
As children, let us listen to the voice of our loving Father today. He commands us to love. As we do, we cooperate with Him to restore the world to His original intention. In loving our neighbor will know the joy He has for each of us when we live by the Jesus Creed! Why? Because Jesus said so!