The danger of legalism is around us and within us. We can switch from delight to duty at the drop of a hat. Joy can become a burden if we do not guard our hearts. Our love for God can easily turn into legalism if we are not careful.
Author Cliff Graham vividly portrays this tension in Song of War, the third book in his Lion of War series, his series of novels about King David and his mighty men. He writes about a conversation between King David and Shammah, one of “The Three.”
Shammah walked across the sand and stood next to his king. He stole a glance at his face. The amber eyes were searching for something. Always searching. As though a great secret was beyond the hills, and David alone knew of its existence, but was troubled because he could not answer it.
“Thank you for telling the men of the ark.”
David blinked and turned to him. “You tell them of the ark all the time.”
“But the way you say things… When I say it to them, it comes across as anger.”
David patted Shammah on the shoulder. “You love the ways of Yahweh more than most men I have known, my friend. Just make certain you don’t love the ways of Yahweh more than Yahweh himself.”
Shammah looked at Moab as David did. He heard laughter behind him. He closed his eyes. Felt the sand under his feet. Thank you, Lord.
Don’t allow your relationship with God become a religious activity. Don’t allow your love for rules and rituals to overshadow your love for the Savior.