Wednesday Word 2.22.2017
Exodus 20:1-6 (NIV)
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Of all the Commandments, have you ever noticed what God called out first? I have always thought of the Big Ten as God’s road map for living; the basic ordinances by which we are meant to live. God establishes right off the bat that he will not put up with that idolatry stuff. While all the other nations worshipped their groups of gods who were carved and cast and elevated by men, God wants his people to acknowledge that he created us. It was so easy for the Israelites to slip into the old habits of their neighbors. Maybe a grandmother came from Assyria and brought along a little Ashur or Ishtar idol with her to her new home. Maybe they kept a little shrine in the home, just in case. God wanted his people to know that their focus should be on him alone. Period.
If we read what follows in Exodus, we find out just how easy it was for the Israelites to fall back into those old ways. Moses was gone so long they gave up and created their own god, a golden calf. These were the same people who had been delivered from bondage in Egypt and been fed every day from heaven. Because their Lord could not be seen, they thought he must have deserted them. They felt they had to have something to believe. I was always quick to judge them, but don’t we do the same thing sometimes?
Because we cannot always understand why things happen the way that they do, we are sometimes filled with doubts. Because we cannot see the past, present and future as one big picture, we have a hard time accepting that there is a plan. Because we experience suffering, we think that no one cares. However, that isn’t because God has turned from us. It is because we simply cannot see. Our capacity to understand is limited by the fact that we are human beings. We simply must believe.
If we remain steadfast and do our best to obey God’s holy ordinances, we can hold on to the promises of love that he has made. We can have the blessed assurances that were made possible for us through Christ and experience the “peace that transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). No matter what befalls, we must keep our focus on the one true God…something to pray about.
Your sister in Christ,