So Moses brought their case before the Lord. Numbers 27:5

It’s impossible to create laws that cover every possibility. Later the Pharisees would try to do this and even today Orthodox Jews have lists of numerous activities that one cannot do on the Sabbath. For example, some hotels in Israel have elevators that automatically stop at every floor on the Sabbath so that no one has to do the ‘work’ of pushing the button. With every new invention, new regulations have to be made. It’s cumbersome, burdensome, tedious and not what God intends.

In Moses’ day when the people had a problem that wasn’t covered in the laws, Moses went to God and this became a precedent for future cases. Under the new covenant many things aren’t covered and some things that once were, no longer are, like eating ‘unclean’ animals. However, when God gives us guidance, it doesn’t necessarily become precedents or applicable to everyone else—as much as we would like this to be the case.

God’s way of guiding and directing us under the new covenant is by a sense of conviction, a sense of peace about a particular course of action or a ‘knowing’ that comes because God has written on our hearts. “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).

Yet God’s direction isn’t the same for everyone. It depends on his plan for our life, the witness he wants us to be, and the culture in which we live. His laws help us to understand what honours him but ultimately we’re to be a Spirit-led people.