“… To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
The Torah provides us with much ruling having to do with man’s inhumane behavior. Some of the things the Torah talks about would make very gory bedtime stories. How can such a heavenly document be so besmirched with the filth of human sin?
King David said that the Torah is Light (Psalms 119:105). Light is only useful when it shines in darkness. In essence, the Torah finds its mission within the spiritual darkness of our human dimension. Paul built on David’s proclamation in the Psalms with, But when anything is exposed by the light (of Torah), it (the sin of ‘anything’) becomes visible (Ephesians 5:13), and when he taught Timothy that, Now we know that the law (the Torah) is … not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine (1Timothy 1:8). Well I think that includes all of us! The Torah is a Light made to reveal to us our sinful condition, as a help to direct our paths away from sinful behavior.
In studying God’s Oracles, we must be careful to distinguish between what the Torah permits and what the Torah advocates. Failure to do so can be disastrous. Whereas the Torah advocates unbroken marriages, in the knowledge of the nature of man’s heart it gave leeway for divorce (Matthew 19:8). Whereas it advocates monogamous marriages, it gave rulings concerning polygamy. It doesn’t mean that the Torah advocates divorce or polygamy, it only means that the Torah is relevant to the society in which it was given. The same goes for slavery; whereas the Torah gives ruling for slaves, it does not advocate slavery. We must be careful to study it according to its contextual values. Not understanding this causes us to feel removed from the text to a point of irrelevance. For example, many who would not consider polygamy as a lifestyle practice it in a sequential manner, using one spouse, and ‘throwing it away’ for another one. Many today also who would not consider enslaving humans practice a different form of it through the very commonly accepted practice of usury (lending for interest) and economic policies that offer less guaranties than those offered to slaves in the Bible.
The Torah is a Light, and those who consider it obsolete live in darkness. The Torah reveals God’s nature and character, and those who in a cafeteria-style pick and choose what they want from it, are found to ‘edit’ God in their hearts. For centuries man has tried to find a better type of government than the one offered in the Torah, and the messy results are evident. In the World to Come, the Light of Torah will expose our sinful world for what it is and we will finally learn to be ruled under the justice and righteousness of God.
May it come soon Abba Father, this world can’t wait any longer; too many are crying out for justice.