Apple released the iPhone 5s today. You may be taking painstaking strides right now as you read this to order your new iPhone 5s. Apple.com will run slowly due to the high traffic, people will have lined up at obscene hours with a portable chair, dunkin donuts coffee in hand, and have spent the night(s) on a cold floor to pick up this new gadget today. Apple fans not only purchase the phone, they also purchase accessories to protect their new treasured possession. They’ll buy cases and screen films and whatever else to prevent possible damage and scratches on the phone.
All analogies are imperfect but this iPhone phenomenon helps us understand God’s relationship towards us. Ps 19:7-8 says,
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (emphasis added).
Yup, you read that right. The law revives, it brings wisdom, the heart rejoices, and eyes are opened. When we think of “law” we don’t think of these positive effects of the law. We think it’s oppressive, it’s a burden, it opposes God’s grace. This negative view of the law is a distorted one. The law is not and never could be a means of salvation like the Pharisees thought it was. If it was, then the law indeed is oppressive, burdensome, and completely nullifies God’s grace. The Law is actually a means of grace. Remember Mark 2:27, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
In the Old Testament, God gives the law to his people through Moses. The law is given to God’s people after they’ve been freed from the oppression of slavery under Egyptian rule. It is after the exodus that the law is given. The fact that Israel receives the law is pure grace. It was what distinguished them as God’s people. In fact, before the law is given, God says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery…” Now that God has freed them, he gives his people the law to help them wield this newfound freedom well, to thrive, to have joy, and to be protected. That’s why the psalmist in the passage above can speak of the law the way he does.
Now think of the the Apple fanatics and their new gizmos. It would be absurd if the Apple fan said, “I’m going to restrict my phone by putting all of these accessories on it.” We all know the intention of the iPhone owner and the purposes of the accessories. It’s to protect, care for and preserve the phone – to keep it functionally optimal and aesthetically pristine.
I was an iPhone fan for 3 years before I actually purchased one. How absurd would it be if I bought a phone case, film screen, chargers, and other accessories for a phone that I did not yet own? The phone accessories only make sense if I possess the phone for which these accessories were intended.
We are, God’s iPhone, so to speak. We are his treasured possession. In order to care for us he gives us his law. His law, like the phone accessories serve to protect, care and preserve. It helps us operate in full joy and keeps us from danger. His law is a means of grace to us, letting us know that we are his treasured possession. The law is for our good and for God’s glory.
Christian, you are God’s. You are his treasured possession. Because of his love for you he gives you guidance through the law to help you thrive. It will revive your soul, it will give you wisdom, it will bring rejoicing, and it will enlighten your eyes. Be encouraged to follow him and joyfully obey on this iPhone 5s release day and everyday.