I have executed my share of contracts. As a former CEO, I never deferred to any employees when a relationship was about to be defined, especially when it involved the exchange of money. I would make the time to read the contract before agreeing to the terms of engagement. “Just send over the contract, and let me look at it” were common words for me, perhaps as common as “pass the salt” at dinner time.
As I read the original text of the book of Exodus, I see an image of what I did when I agreed to a contract, but then I find the opposite three verses later. It made me think about it enough to want to share it.
In Exodus 24:3, it says, “We will do all that the Lord commands.” The Lord first communicates the “terms of the covenant,” and then the people agree. After hearing that, I found some self-righteousness in my historical actions when I read the contract and then choose to agree or not agree. I sequentially did it just like the Israelites did.
A few verses later, I am put on my head. Exodus 24:7 says, “We will do, then we will hear.”
That is the opposite order. What does that mean? Shouldn’t a free society require the consent of those being governed? Shouldn’t consent come first? Very strange. I re-read it in Hebrew. “Na-eshah” means we will do. Then, “veneeshmah” comes next, and it means we will hear or understand. It is sequential in its meaning in the language. I am sure of it. I have consulted others. Ugh. This is another example of where my understanding of God has been dead wrong because I never learned what God said in its original form.
What I had to see what that the Israelites were creating a system, in fact, they were creating the first nation in history. Here is the best explanation I came up with and how we see it in our culture today.
You and I are born into a system that existed before we did. I didn’t first understand it and then agree to it. I just “did” it. Don’t murder. Stand in line. Sit up straight. Honor your mother and father. Don’t steal.
It was binding, too. I speak English because my parents made me speak it to them. They sent me to a school that didn’t explain or justify anything. I did, first, then I learned the terms and conditions of what I did. The same goes the first time you agree to play a sport. Rules get “discovered” along the way, especially as I broke them. I still remember getting tagged out and 2nd base when I learned I had to always stand with one foot on the bag, or I could be tagged as out. I didn’t agree to that rule when I picked up the bat. It was just there, and I bought into it.
That has literally always been the case. We buy into the system that countries require VISAs for us to visit; we don’t get to read about that and negotiate a different contract. It is above us. We either agree or we don’t, and we lose all the growth and education from international travel if we don’t.
Today, we try to make the opposite of the truth. The modernist says, “If you don’t like the system or the products of the system, you are morally obligated to rebel against the system.” They argue that this is how revolutions of the past happen.
“Defund the Police” had, as a core argument, that the system wasn’t liked, and the best way to change it was to prevent the Police from doing their jobs. If we did that, they couldn’t commit crimes. Defunding first responders along with that, was believed to be the best way to end police brutality.
When the Hebrews said that we will do, then we will hear, they said, “We are committing to this system, even if we don’t understand the terms of the contract, right now. Yes, we know there will be some bad parts to it, but we are committed, nonetheless.” In recovery, we say, “Fake it until you make it.” Act sober, and then you will start to be sober.
As I continued my deep dive, I discovered the word “Ta’am.” It means two things. I can mean taste, or it can mean reason. We all know that taste is not the objective of eating. We eat for the energy from food and the protection against the elements and pathogens it gives. It is secondary that we eat because food tastes good. It seems that “why we listen to God” is secondary to “just do what he says.”
We also see the reverse of this in the modern world. People need to know the reason for doing something before they just do it. Every salesman uses the “why you need this” approach when they sell a product.
I am going to continue to read contacts, even though I do not do it as much anymore. And I will continue to ask people to sign mine when they hire me as a coach or participate in a tour. We still live in a legal-focused society. Yet, when it comes to doing God’s word, I am getting out of the business of understanding what he is saying before doing it.