How Authority works in the Old Testament
(Part 2 of 3)
Man's Divinely Appointed Responsibility
Man is to know his divinely created place in this universe. Man's highest priority in this life is meeting Jehovah's authorized standard (Exodus 10:3; Leviticus 11:44; Job 4:12-21; 38:1ff; Proverbs 2:1-9; 3:13-18; 4:7; 8•.7-9; Psalm 9:20; 119:72; Jeremiah 6:16-20). To sin against Jehovah's divine will is to transgress against one's own nature (Ezekiel 14:12-13). Man; however, was never designed by Jehovah to create spiritual laws to follow (Jeremiah 10:23). Those individuals who do not follow the natural God appointed life of perfect obedience are deemed rebellious, polluted (Zechariah 3:1), and hard hearted (Exodus 5:1-2). Such individuals forsake all God's mercy (Jonah 2:8).
Man has absolutely no right to create even one law in relationship to his spiritual direction (see Leviticus 10:1ff). Jehovah is clear regarding His divine will for man. He has set the standard for man to meet. No other way of life will be acceptable to Jehovah (Hosea 5:11; 11:6). No other person (even a king or a nation), no amount of riches, no personal conscience, no amount of personal conviction, confidence, opinions, reasoning, ignorance, or deluded belief can change or create spiritual laws (Hosea 4:12; 5:13; 7:11; 10:3, 13; 11:2; 12:8; 13:10 etc.). Man ought to be terrified to say, "It's my opinion that the church should do this that or the other... I personally believe that the qualification of elders is this that or the other..." When matters of our faith are involved man has one directive, "Thus saith Jehovah."
When man speaks he has the responsibility to speak truth alone (Zechariah 8:16). Those who dare to speak words contrary to Jehovah's standard seek to change God himself.
History reveals such daring men identified as false prophets (Ezekiel 13:1-8). Such work is not tolerated by Jehovah God and is not to be tolerated by man (see Balaam — Numbers 22 compared to 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14; Deuteronomy 13 all; 20:16-18).
Man's Divinely Appointed Attitude
Again, if man is to obtain unto God's divine nature he must share God's attitude toward His divine standard. Jehovah's view of sin is clearly documented. God hates sin (Zechariah 8:17). Often the word "abomination" is used regarding God's passionate hatred for sin (see Proverbs 15:26 etc.). God's people are to have the same view of sin. Man is to "utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor i?' (Deuteronomy 7:26; see also Leviticus 20:23; Joshua 7:24-26; Psalm 119:104; Proverbs 8:13; Jeremiah 15:16-18; Ezekiel 36:31; Amos 5:15). Our natural response to sin is to be shame and embarrassment (Ezra 9:5ff; Jeremiah 3:25; Hosea 9:10; Zephaniah 2:1). Sin is to be viewed as a "horrible" thing (Hosea 6:10) and thereby it should bother me if I have participated in it (Ecclesiastes 7:4, 19-20). Seeing that man is created in the image of God, knowing God's view of sin, and knowing what God expects of me I ought to have a since of righteous indignation against sin (Exodus 32:20; Numbers 25:6ff; Joshua 7:24-26; 1 Samuel 15:1011; Jeremiah 15:16-18) rather than indifference (Zephaniah 1:12-13). Man's attitude toward those things that violate Jehovah's authorized word should be that of humble sorrow (Numbers 21:1-9; Psalm 51:1-17; Isaiah 57:15; 66:1-2; Joel 2:12-14).
Man's Divinely Appointed Approach to serving God
All mankind must understand that it is God alone that sets the standard and has the sole power to save man from the consequences of sin (Hosea 13:10; 14:3). My approach to Jehovah God, as creator of all things, is nothing less that great respect, awe, reverence, and fear (Psalm 119:161; Proverbs 1: 7; 2:1-5; Ecclesiastes 12:13). The prophet Ezekiel summarizes man's approach to God by the word "just" (Ezekiel 18:5-9). Each man is to purpose within their hearts to know and do all that God commands (Ezra 7:10). The greatest mistake man can make is to look to self for divine authority in spiritual matters (Proverbs 16:2, 25; 23:4; 24:21 etc.) (Part 3 next week).
John C. Robertson