When asked which are the most important commandments, Jesus replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28,31).
"Great!" You might think! "I don't have to worry about the other 8 commandments!".
Think again, my friend!
The 1st 4 commandments are about loving and honouring God, which Jesus covers in that first simple sentence.
The last 6 commandments are about loving other people...Which again is covered by Jesus' words.
God gave his people the 10 commandments and his laws and time and time again the people turned from Him. They disobeyed his laws and got themselves in a right mess over and over again.
God commanded Noah to build his Ark and he washed away the mess that His world had become. Unfortunately the people didn't learn their lesson. They got themselves back into a mess and had the cheek to call out to God to help them.
God tried to help his people by sending them Judges.
Judges 2:18, 19 says this, "Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshipping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways."
This just shows God's perseverance in helping his people even though time and time again the people would turn away from Him.
As a mum, if my children disobeyed me I would give them a telling-off. If they kept disobeying me I would probably start punishing them...taking their electronics away, grounding them...one things for sure, I wouldn't have the patience with them that God has for us!
The rest of the Old Testiment follows this pattern...a time of peace, the people turn away from God, the people become corrupt and oppressed, they cry out to God, God steps in and helps them.
God's commandments and laws are there to protect his people, just as we set out rules and boundaries for our own children to keep them safe.
What does every good parent do if their children aren't listening to them? They get down to their level!
God sent His son, Jesus Christ, as a way of 'getting down to our level' as an equal, to simplify his rules and expectations of us and to give us an example of how to live. He even wiped away our sins and gave us a fresh start!
Jesus was a man who lived in our world, who experienced the same temptations and hardships as we experience. Through Jesus, God knows what we face and He knows how hard life can be. But He also knows that we are capable of living like Jesus, with kindness, compassion and without prejudice.
Time and time again we will mess up, but God's is patient and will always help us when we call to Him. Just as a loving Father does.