“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8


God’s Requirements Not Grievous


Deuteronomy 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

I John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.


Man’s Requirements Grievous


Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (from Isaiah 29:13)

Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.


MEMORY VERSE: But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. —James 1:25


CENTRAL THOUGHT: God’s requirements, given for the purpose of man’s well-being and fulfilled by love, are not difficult nor grievous, but liberating. Contrarily, the traditions, precepts and commandments of men are often motivated by greed and love of power, bringing bondage and burden.




Deuteronomy 30:11 “It is not hidden from thee”: it is not extraordinary, surpassing, or too difficult. “far off”: beyond reach.

I John 5:3 “Grievous”: heavy; burdensome.

Mark 7:9 “Full well”: well-perceived or viewed as good. “Tradition”: handed down from one generation to the next.

Matthew 15:9 “In vain”: to no purpose; in an unreal way; pointless. “Doctrines”: instruction—the function or the information. “Commandments”: injunction; ordinance; religious precept.

Matthew 23:4 “Grievous to be borne”: difficult to carry; oppressive; problematic.

Romans 10:3 “Righteousness”: a judicial verdict, especially divine approval, or what is deemed right by the Lord.

Galatians 5:13 “Liberty”: freedom, especially freedom from slavery. “Occasion to the flesh”: affording an

opportunity to do what is apart from faith, or carnal.

Galatians 5:14 “Fulfilled in one word”: Completed in one commandment. (This is more fully developed in Romans 13:8-10.)

James 1:25 “perfect law of liberty”: That which has reached the full end or purpose (perfect) of that which assigned (law), which is freedom from slavery (liberty).



In God’s dealings with His people, He had not only revealed to man what was good, but He revealed His wrath against evil and wrong behavior. By the time of the prophets, the Israelites had experienced first-hand the resulting curse brought upon them by choosing evil. Most of them had totally missed the point of God’s law, which was that it was to be not just a code of conduct, not just ritual, but a revelation of who God was, a way into a deep relationship with Him. Many drifted far away from God altogether, but some became very zealous and loyal to the law, supposing that the more rigidly they bound themselves into their religion, the better they would preserve it.

By the time Jesus was born, these legalists—the Pharisees and Scribes—were the religious rulers in Jerusalem. To see this group of cold-hearted, holier-than-thou Pharisees turning what He had meant to be a blessing into an oppressive, unbending yoke of bondage filled Him with both sorrow and indignation. He dealt with them sternly. He cut to their heart issues with a swift and sure sword. “An axe to the root of the tree,” John the Baptist called it.

Looking back through the history of God’s people, we can see how God’s heart toward them was not just to provide them with a handbook of rules, but to walk with them in close fellowship. He yearned for them to have a dear son’s heart toward Him that just wanted to serve and please Him.

His heart was—”The evil things will hurt you! I want what will bless you, what will bless your marriage, your children, your family, your nation!” So when we see His heart toward us and respond, “Lord, write Your law in my heart and mind,” any hardship of obeying His requirements is taken away. We walk in liberty because we delight to do His will.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck



1. God’s desire: What verses show the heart and purpose of God in giving His people His law?

2. Our response: What kind of action on our part fulfills this purpose and what does it bring to our lives?

3. What frustrates: Describe the futility and frustration of trying to live according to rules established by man, instead of doing the will of God from the heart.




Our Scriptures today show the blessed truth that when God’s law is imprinted on our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit, His law is not too difficult, beyond our reach, or oppressive. There will be a harmonious compatibility with the law of God written in creation, the principles of justice laid down in Moses’ law, the voice of conscience, and the teaching and example given us by Jesus’ life.

On the other hand, replacing God’s perfect law with man’s tradition brings a backlash of unbelief and rebellion, because when people try to please man and not God they feel frustrated, confused and bound. The next step for them is to give up trying to do right. If emphasis is placed on an outward show of religion while inner graces are lacking, many individuals become sickened toward religion as a whole. Thus, the effect of the Pharisee spirit has always been that precious souls have been turned away from the kingdom.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




Years ago, we lived in a small town that was also the home of a man who was the pastor of a nearby religious cult. It was not uncommon to hear of this man entering into a parishioner’s home and taking whatever item he wanted, especially if that particular item was nicer than his own—washer, dryer, etc. When the offering was given on a Sunday morning, if the pastor did not think it was sufficient, he would “pass the plate” again. The spiritual starvation of that congregation was heart rending. They were ruled by fear and oppression.

This situation reminds me of an excerpt from Phillip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23:

“The tenant sheepman on the farm next to my first ranch was the most indifferent manager I had ever met. He was not concerned about the condition of his sheep. His land was neglected. He gave little or no time to his flock, letting them pretty well forage for themselves as best they could, both summer and winter. They fell prey to dogs, cougars, and rustlers.

“Every year these poor creatures were forced to gnaw away at bare brown fields and impoverished pastures. Every winter there was a shortage of nourishing hay and wholesome grain to feed the hungry ewes. Shelter to safeguard and protect the suffering sheep from storms and blizzards was scanty and inadequate.

“They had only polluted, muddy water to drink. There had been a lack of salt and other trace minerals needed to offset their sickly pastures. In their thin, weak, and diseased condition these poor sheep were a pathetic sight.

“In my mind’s eye I can still see them standing at the fence, huddled sadly in little knots, staring wistfully through the wires at the rich pastures on the other side.

“To all their distress, the heartless, selfish owner seemed utterly callous and indifferent. He simply did not care. What if his sheep did want green grass, fresh water, shade, safety or shelter from the storms? What if they did want relief from wounds, bruises, disease and parasites? He ignored their needs—he couldn’t care less. Why should he—they were just sheep—fit only for the slaughterhouse.”

—Sis. LaDawna Adams