Troublesome Topic: God Alone Determines What Is Normal for His Kingdom

Lesson 6 of 9

God alone determines what is “normal” for each environment. In a spiritual sense we would say that God alone determines what is the norm for His kingdom. On a daily basis, God wanted His people to be evaluating if something was normal for its setting or not.

He establishes what is acceptable for a given environment, and since the Israelites were His chosen people, they were expected to live by His standards; they were not free to make their own idea of “normal.” The principle applies to us as well. We should not ask why God established things the way He did, just follow what He established.

Too many modern believers in Jesus think they can repeat a prayer, go to church and decide how they want to live the rest of the week. Well, they may know that there are moral lines they should not cross, but apart from the “big sins” they pretty much decide for themselves what they are allowed to do. But that is not how ancient covenants worked. In a suzerain/vassal covenant, the covenant Lord set the standards and those under the covenant only had two choices, to obey or to rebel and reap the punishment.

Here is how the idea of God’s “normal” applies to us.

If the businesses all around us strive to convince everyone that one must cut the corners, shave the figures, and avoid paying taxes wherever possible in order to get ahead, we must consider those things unclean – i.e. isolated, unacceptable, improper, or abnormal. God has established what is “normal” for business practices, and it is His “normal” that matters, not the world’s “normal.”

If you stand before God at the time of judgment and tell Him, “Everyone was doing it,” He might look you in the eye and say, “So?” By looking at others around us we are accepting their “normal” as the only norm, not realizing that God is the one that establishes what is normative for each setting.

It does not matter if it is normal for people of the world to dress in ways that show lots of shape and lots of skin, thus calling attention to certain parts of the body as effectively as if big neon arrows were pointing to those areas. The world should not be allowed to tell us what is normal. We no longer belong to this world, so why do we listen to the world’s messages about how we dress?

It does not matter if it is “normal” for the rest of the world to bring nudity into their homes in the form of movies, a multitude of TV channels, or the internet, we must live according to a different standard of “normal” because we are now part of God’s kingdom.

It does not matter if the world considers it normal to be sexually active in middle school! It does not matter if the world says it is normal to live with someone before marriage. It does not matter if a long-term marriage commitment is less and less normal in our society with each passing year. We no longer belong to this world, we belong to God’s kingdom and live under His kingship, so why do we often look to the world for guidance?

The answer to that question is that culture shapes our thinking much more than we realize. You will not notice its power while you are being influenced by it, but try to fight against it and you will realize that it is like a raging torrent. So we need to do more than just realize that God alone sets the standards for what is normal within his kingdom; we also need to commit ourselves to learning as much as we can about how God wants us to live and dedicate ourselves to making every effort possible to live that way.

The next lesson for the short version of this study is: Death is Abnormal

The next lesson for the medium and full length studies on covenants is: Violence Is Not Normal in God’s Realm

The next lesson on Why Is That in the Bible? is: Violence Is Not Normal in God’s Realm