hedge laws and alcohol

The whole alcohol debate is probably going to be with me for a while, since my dad is a legalistic teetotaler and I'm - well - not.

In the sermon at my church this morning, the text was on the Sabbath (legalism vs. God's law) and how the Jews used hedge laws to "protect" themselves from breaking the law - if you obeyed man's hedge laws, you could never get close to breaking God's real one.

A "hedge law" is an "extra" law that the Jews used to create a hedge around the Law of Moses. For instance - all the Decalogue says about the Sabbath is: "but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates."

So, the Jews took it and ran with it - "what's 'labor'?" - and ended up with a bunch of hedge laws that never appear in Scripture: how far you can walk, how much jewelry (in weight) a woman can wear, etc. These hedge laws were so restrictive that Christ was condemned by the Pharisees for healing on the Sabbath.

Christ never broke God's Law - but he did break the law of man - the hedge laws.

And that's what we have today - hedge laws.

If you don't use alcohol at all, you will never be able to break God's prescription against drunkeness.

Would Christ have obeyed this "hedge law"?

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2 thoughts on “hedge laws and alcohol

  1. Hi Ellen. I think it depends on who is making the law.

    If it is the government, and you are underage, I don't see any leeway for breaking it. If it is your parents, the same (but not because of the alcohol--this would come under honoring your parents).

    But my guess is that you are referring to a situation where you (or whomever) can legally consume alcohol, but is prohibited because of the setting (school or church). Am I on the right track? Let me know, and I'll finish my thought.

  2. Oh no...

    My dad maintains that drinking alcohol (period) breaks God's law.

    I'm 46 years old and sometimes have a beer (for the beer drinkers reading - must try "Young's Double Chocolate Stout") before bedtime.

    I have come to the conclusion that (at 46), if my dad's law does not align with God's Law, there is a problem.

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