I want to start off by asking a question: What is the difference between a human being who has chosen the 7 Noahide Laws as their spiritual path, those who live life by one of the worlds religions, living by the seat of their pants or maybe have come to a portion of the 7 Noahide Laws rationally or intellectually?
A few months back, I had a very similar question and began to seek for an answer. It took some study and reaching out to a couple of rabbi friends, but I eventually arrived to an answer.
Before I get into what I see the key difference in the life choices above, I want to point out that the Creator created all mankind in His image and cares for everyone, even the wicked. How do I know this?
“The Eternal is good to all; and His mercies are over all His works.”
We all know someone who lives a life so opposite of what we would define as a Godly life. But yet they wake up each morning and breath the same air we all are given. The fact that they wake up shows that God cares for them and as long as they are alive they are given opportunities to change and turn from their wicked ways.
The Eternal is good to all; and His mercies are over all His works.
I had just gotten in a set of books that I had been wanting for some time, they were a two set volume of commentary on the book of Proverbs by the Artscroll Tanach Series. The main reason I wanted these books was so I could study a passage within the Proverbs that God used to impact my life when I was in my last year as a teen. As a teen I had a difficult choice placed in front of me and it was through this passage I was able to make the right decision.
Shortly after I began the study of the first volume and the passages of interest, the subject of the reward between the different levels of humans and the 7 laws came up in one of the Facebook groups I am in.
When I revisited the first verse of the passage in Proverbs that I was investigating, the subject that had been brought up in the Facebook group came to mind. I sat there looking at the words of that verse and pondered them for a while. I would revisit those words off and on for several days. Within the first verse I saw the reason why those of the nations who chooses the 7 Laws because God instructed them upon us, is granted life in the World To Come as told to us by the Sages of Israel.
Take a close look at what this passage is saying, and then I will show you what I saw as what the key difference is.
My child: If you accept my words and treasure my commandments with yourself, to make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to discernment. [For] only if you call out to understanding [and] give forth your voice to discernment, if you seek it as money, and search for it as hidden treasures. Then you will understand the fear of God , and discover the knowledge of God.
“If you accept my words and treasure my commandments with yourself…”
The Sages teach that “my words” is the Torah/instructions from the Creator. In this verse we see two things that sets up the rest, without them none of the rest of the passage has no impact.
For the people of the nations the 7 Noahide Laws are instructions given to us by the Creator – to even begin to understand the fear of God and discover His knowledge – we have to first accept His Torah/instructions and then treasure the commandments.
The keys to unlocking eternity is found in, accepting & treasuring the words and instructions of the Creator.
I will be blunt, all of those who oppose the Noahide Laws do not accept nor treasure the commandments of the Creator in one way or another.
Ponder this – what does it mean to you to treasure something – do you treasure the commandments of God within you?
The commentary goes on to show us more about treasuring the commandments – “We should not only perform the commandments, but cherish, treasure and safeguard their essential teachings.” Artscroll Tanach Series Mishlei/Proverbs
Now, do you see the key difference – a person who keeps one or more of the 7 Laws out of reason and intellect does not cherish, treasure and safeguard the commandments of God within themselves.
Now to drive it home even further, lets look a few more verses in chapter 2 of Proverbs.
He [God] will secure the eternal Torah for the upright; it is a shield for those who walk in innocence, to safeguard the paths of justice, and He will protect the way of His devout ones.
Again we see that those who, accept His words and treasure His commandments become His devout ones – being devout in the 7 Laws, not rational and intellectual makes all the difference.
I hope that this blog stirs up a desire to make the commandments of God a treasure within oneself
Terry W. Hayes
Photo Credit: Silas Köhler on Unsplash