The Laws of Love

“Now that He’s gotten His people out of Egypt, He needs to get Egypt out of the people, as it were,” began Cale Clarke in an episode of The Faith Explained. “He really has to establish, God does, His relationship with Israel by means of the law.”

Even before the Ten Commandments entered the picture, God had to establish a standard of law so that the Israelites correctly understood who He was to them. Cale spent a segment of the show discussing this process of God’s relationship with His chosen people, the significance of boundaries, and the correct way to view the nature of the creator/creature relationship.

“It might seem from the outside like law is a system of harsh rules and regulations that do anything but establish a relationship, but don’t forget that every relationship – whether it’s a friendship, a marriage, or an employer and employee relationship – has a set of norms and rules and boundaries that should really be means of love.”

Rules and boundaries are a necessity to every relationship. Without them, members of that relationship become all too capable of hurting the other member(s). Without boundaries, nobody knows what’s off-limits. Behaviors and attitudes would reflect the chaos that the relationship was founded on.

Rules are what allow you to show love to another person in a different way. You don’t take somebody else’s things without permission because you respect their personal property. You don’t lie to people because you respect their integrity and wouldn’t want to betray their trust. You make an effort to show your appreciation for another person because you want them to know that they are loved. God’s law is no different. He blessed us with His divine law so that we might foster a vibrant relationship with Him.

“On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud blast of the shofar, so that all the people in the camp trembled.

But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.

Now Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke, because the LORD had come down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

The blast of the shofar grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God was answering him with thunder.

When the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the LORD summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Then the LORD told Moses: Go down and warn the people not to break through to the LORD in order to see him; otherwise many of them will be struck down.

For their part, the priests, who approach the LORD must sanctify themselves; else the LORD will break out in anger against them.

But Moses said to the LORD, ‘The people cannot go up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying: Set limits around the mountain to make it sacred.’

So the LORD said to him: ‘Go down and come up along with Aaron. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD; else he will break out against them.’

So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them.” (Exodus 19:16-25)

When we hear in scripture about Fear of the Lord, it isn’t referring to a servile fear.

“When I talk about the holy fear here, I’m not necessarily talking about the kind of fear where you’re cowering in the corner expecting to be zapped by a lightning bolt,” said Cale. “No, that’s the servile fear. I’m talking about awe. I’m talking about wonder. I’m talking about respect for God’s name and who He is.”

There needs to be a balance in the relationship we have with God: On the one hand, we cannot view Him simply as a run-of-the-mill companion and forget about His transcendent divinity and the reverence that we must express. But on the other hand, we mustn’t fear Him like an apathetic deity with no love for His creatures and creation. To an extent and in a certain sense, He is our friend, so the holy fear we have comes from a place of respect.

Tune in to The Faith Explained weekdays at 12:30 pm CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.