“And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.” (Exodus 12:24)
Within these verses there are two significant Hebrew words that merit a discussion. The first is the word translated as “observe” and the second is the one translated as “ordinance.”
The Hebrew word “shamar” (here translated as observe) actually means “to guard.” Very often this is translated as “keep” but in the sense that you protect it. In previous centuries, the fortified tower in a castle was called a “keep” and thus we are to understand that those things God tells us to “keep” or “observe” are the things we are instructed to guard. Adam was told to “keep” the garden but, obviously, he didn’t. How do we know that? Because the serpent gained access to the midst of the garden and was able to seduce his wife into disobedience.
That idea brings us to the next word — the one translated as “ordinance.” The Hebrew term is davar and literally means, “a word.” When God speaks it is not to hear Himself talk; there is a point and purpose in what He says to us in His Word or through other means. Those things He speaks to us are worthy of being locked away in our hearts and protected, guarded and defended against any who would come and try to steal it away. This is, in fact, hinted at in the parable of the Sower; the enemy comes to steal the word away before it has time to take root.
When God gives us a word it is our responsibility to guard it. I would contend that we are quick to do that when we are given a Word that appeals to us but we must be just as diligent to guard those things He gives us that we don’t particularly care for — or least our flesh doesn’t care for it. But we must remember that any word He gives to us is for our own good and in our best interests. In other words, His Word is life to us and we must be diligent to keep it if we want to live an abundant life.
Blessings and Shalom,