As a kid, did you ever unknowingly walk through the house with muddy shoes? Afterwards, your mother or father may have given you a tour, showing you each carpet-staining step you took. The more of your dirty footsteps you saw, the worse you felt. As we read through God’s strict law in the Old Testament, it’s a bit like seeing our own dirty footprints in His house.
For example, in Numbers 15:32-36, a man was caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath. The Lord’s punishment for him was quite severe, to say the least. God instructed Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” (v. 35) In fact, the Old Testament has many laws where, if broken, the consequence is death; most laws on idolatry and sexual immorality demand death if violated. Of course, remember what happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of God in 2 Samuel 6:7? He died because the Lord said, “they must not touch the holy things, lest they die.” (Numbers 4:15)
Before we discard the Old Testament laws, consider what Jesus said. “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.” (Luke 16:17) If these laws are still in effect, how many have we broken? Just how many muddy footsteps have we left? This is a humbling, potentially depressing thought, however, Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Though we should suffer for our sins, Jesus changes the whole story. Regardless of how muddy our shoes have been, Jesus cleanses us from all of it.
Do the muddy tracks of your past weigh on your heart and mind? “Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20) Also, think back to what Jesus said about the prostitute with the alabaster flask of ointment, who wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. He said, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47) According to Jesus, the bigger and muddier mess of sin we’ve left in our Father’s house, the greater the love we can have for Him. If we look back at those past sins against God’s high standard, we can develop a deeper, richer appreciation for our Savior who washes it all away.