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Chapter 5 - Biblical walking
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. - Exodus 16:4
Even though God had promised Abraham he would make a nation out of his descendants, the nation of Israel was still on probation. God became so angry with the nation of Israel, he was tempted to exterminate them and create a new nation from Moses.
Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. - Exodus 32:10
If one considers 'walking' as how one conducts one’s life, we can see that God desired that Israel would adapt themselves to the law that they had agreed to follow when the covenant was established and the ten commandments received. Israel would be negligent if they failed to do this. However, they would be rebellious if they adopted an entirely different 'walk'.
And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. - Leviticus 20:23
Unfortunately Israel refused to follow the 'walk' they had agreed to and it was only after the nation had been taken captive to Babylon for 70 years that they finally gave up the practice (walk) of idolatry.
Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. - Isaiah 42:24
Here we see a differentiation between walking in the ways of the Lord and obeying his laws. This seems to be lost on the later Pharisees as they made a religion of rule following that ironically carried them away from faithfulness to God.
What may not be fully appreciated is that obedience and law keeping are like the tip of the iceberg. They are an effect of something deeper. The Pharisees mistakenly considered rule following to be the entirety of what God desired.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. - Matthew 9:13
Jesus instructed the Pharisees that they were mistaken to focus on just the superficial. He pointed to deeper truths that were essential to please God.
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. - Hosea 6:6
Hosea speaks in the context of the failures of Ephraim and Judah (the divided nation of Israel) and the frustration of God with their rebellion. If one looks only at external actions, one can miss the inclination of the heart from which actions arise. For example, the actions of the Pharisees appeared to be righteous.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. - Matthew 23:27-28
Perhaps the most iconic of the laws that was given to the nation of Israel was circumcision. It becomes almost emblematic for identification with the law. It was key to how the Galatians were being turned away from walking by the Spirit to walking by the flesh. However, the more important issue of faith is used to show its centrality over even the observance of a key element of law.
And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. - Romans 4:12
Here we have the core of our 'walk', faith. The conduct of our lives is only an echo or reflection of that in which we trust. If we trust in our flesh, our actions will show a pursuit of pride, lust, or other selfish inclination. If we trust in God, our actions should reflect the degree of that trust (strength of that faith). Too many Christians follow the example of the Pharisees and attempt to do 'good' using the power of their own strength (the flesh). As Christians we cannot 'do good' but only allow God to work good through us. This is facilitated by the work of the Holy Spirit.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13
Our walk should not reflect our accomplishments, but our trusting in God to work in and through us. When we trust in the flesh, we do not have the ability to see any alternatives. We distance ourselves from God and quench his Spirit. As we draw nearer to our Savior, we begin to see with clarity, the path he would have us walk.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. - John 8:12
For example, the person who follows Christ may abstain from alcohol, not so much because it is 'evil' or can cause much pain for others, but more because the light of Jesus illuminates a path where the sensations alcohol can produce hold no attraction.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; - Ephesians 5:18-19
Too often we allow the inclination of the flesh to direct our walk. We sort of operate on automatic pilot. We are not to sleep walk though life but 'seek the Lord while he may be found'.
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