Honoring Your Parents–The 10 commandments continued

The transitional commandment–honor your mom and dad. This command is unique in so many ways. It is the first command with a promise of long life,  if followed. In addition, it affects both the vertical and horizontal relationships of men. 

Vertically, the way one treats one’s parents often models the treatment of authority figures in life. If we treat our parents with no respect, that is often how we treat bosses, authorities and even God. 

Additionally, as our Heavenly Father, God wants to have an intimate loving relationship. That is only possible if we honor and respect him. 

Horizontally, our family relationships define us. They are the truest picture of unconditional love we possess on earth. Unless we get them right, we will struggle with all other relationships we encounter. Honoring our parents is the truest test of that practice. It will define how you treat others. 

This command has the widest application and the clearest reward. 

God Bless You

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

You have six days each week for your ordinary work,

but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.

For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you

Remember the Sabbath–Exodus 20 Continued

The people of Israel were finally free. They were preparing to enter the land set aside for them and start a new life. In that building of a nation, God knew the people needed to stop now and then to remember how they got to the promised land, and who brought them.  He had already established the Sabbath at creation.  He was enforcing it with the Manna distribution.  Still, God wanted his people to do life differently.  He wanted them to hold on loosely to all that they had and all that they did.

God always wants us to share. He asks for a part of our earnings, he asks for all of our hearts and amazingly—he actually wants a part of our week.  The idea around Sabbath is simple—God gives us our lives, talents and careers—in exchange, he simply asks for one day to be set aside for him.  God knows we need to set aside time to rest and to honor him.  It keeps us fresh and it keeps us humble. Most importantly, it reminds us that all that we have and all that we are relate directly to his love and commitment to us.

 God Bless You

 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

What is in a Name–Exodus 20 Continued

Do not take the name of the Lord God in vain—This command seems simple, but encompasses an attitude of reverence that carries down through one’s entire view of God and the relationship his chosen share with him. The creator of the universe, the warrior that freed the Israelites, the father that sacrificed his son to redeem those that were lost—deserves to be thought of and spoken of with respect.

God should never be considered the butt of a joke or the emphasis in an expletive phrase. When we use his name–it should be done as a child speaks to their father—bathed in love and respect. Imagine the impact the world would feel if God’s people treated him with the same love and respect they give to celebrities.  Our prayers would be bathed in reverence and expectation.  Our language would honor and glorify him. Our actions would mirror that of our Savior.  We can choose each day to honor his name each time we speak it—or we can simply marginalize it and him and mirror the world culture.  As his kids, we are called to be better than that—treat God and His name as the precious treasure it and He truly is!

God Bless You

 

 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

No Substitutions–Exodus 20, Continued

As God was setting up the framework for freedom, he discussed things that affected our vertical relationship with him, and things that affected our horizontal relationship with others. The first commandment was vertical and spoke to priority—you will have no other God before me.  This second commandment was also vertical and spoke to substitution.  People prefer a physical presence to touch and see.  This God of the universe knew that given the choice, people would substitute a created thing to act as a placeholder for the creator.  God was making clear that was not acceptable. 

The journey of God’s chosen people has been a journey of faith.  He has never allowed his own to substitute the things he created as objects of worship.  Whether they worshipped the sun, or if they worshipped animals those carved images– God would never allow a substitute. 

While we may think those cultures are silly for carving up wood and rocks for their worship, in current society we have our share of substitutes. Cars, icons, celebrities and sport franchises are simply a few of the idols of today.  While they take on sleek forms and sparkle and shine; they are no different than the bulls, eagles and other statues of old.  What’s more, their very presence, allows those that worship them to trust themselves—not the unseen God for their survival, success and happiness.  We must recognize that our worship is reserved for our creator and redeemer.  We can’t waste our time and energy on anything less! 

God Bless You

 

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

 

No Other God Before Me–Exodus 20 Part 1

One of the truly great things God gave us was the Law. By any name, the 10 commandments put a framework around the two great commands—Love God and love one another.  In God’s direct discussion with his people, he set the tone of the discussion by stating the obvious—I AM the Lord your God—who brought you out of Egypt and bondage.  Clearly, he had the right to set some parameters to keep them free.

He spoke directly in the 1st 5 commandments about the love of God.  The 2nd 5 speak directly to love of each other. Each of the commands approach that love from a different perspective.  The critical point that God was trying to teach a free nation was– they could only remain free if they were willing to become selfless and humble.  So to put a fine point on the principle—God said—YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME. As they faced the mountain, the Israelites could easily see God was large and in charge. In the days ahead they would have to decide if each of their actions would put anything ahead of the God that freed them.

Today, we should ask the same question—what am I doing that God would perceive as putting another God ahead of him. We all face that question—Is God first. God knows that if we submit to him—he will make our lives full and free.  But the blocks we stack between us and him serve as walls to our own spiritual prison.  Each day we must be willing to look honestly at our lives and clear the blocks away—and embrace the idea that we shall have NO other God before the Lord our God!!!

God Bless You

And God spoke all these words, saying:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

God Calls Moses Up!–Exodus 19 Part 3

We have all seen the movies—The worker bee gets called up to the penthouse offices to meet with the big guys…the overwhelming awe and excitement, the looks from the others as if the person was going to meet God…Well that was Moses’ day. He was being called up to the top of Mount Sinai to meet with The God of the Universe—Whoa Dude!

God had three parts to his plan—

Establish a reverence for the Israelites regarding Himself.

To reinforce the credibility of Moses to the people.

To set up a life code that will keep them holy and special and in relationship with him

The development of chosen people was a process that that was complex and had many moving parts. God knew it would not happen overnight, and, he also knew that he would have to reinforce to these slaves that they were free in as many and varied ways as he could. Calling Moses up was a powerful step to establish a structure for their journey.

In our world, God continues to transform us—his chosen; in a varied a continuous way. He tells us in Philippians 1:6—“He who has begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” We cannot expect to be transformed overnight—but, we should expect to be molded over a lifetime. We must become reverent, confident and teachable so we will be like him. No fear, No arrogance—just a humble and grateful spirit for all that He is and all that He does in our lives. God is as real, as powerful and as concerned with each of us as he is with those he led out of Egypt. We simply need to accept his leadership and his blessing in our journey!

God Bless You

On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.

Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.

As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply.

The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed the mountain.

How Great Thou Art–Exodus 19 Part 2

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we often forget how awesome God is. We forget that he is the All-powerful, All-knowing, creator and ruler of the universe. We forget that at his command galaxies were born. Nations have risen and fallen simply because he wished it to be so. God is worthy of respect and reverence.

The day that the Israelites were to meet God at the mountain was the most important day of their lives. God made sure that they knew what they were doing. He made sure that they came pure of heart and in the reverent right frame of mind and he made sure that they did not violate his requirements and try to touch him or climb to him. They not only needed to know how he personally cared for them, they also needed to know He was “the Great I Am.”

We still need to know that today. To many times we forget about how great God is because we are only taught how loving and graceful he is. While it is true that God loves us and wants us to have a full and meaningful life here and eternally with him; it is also true that at a word, he can still rock the world. He truly controls the rise and fall of kingdoms and life and death.

In short, we need to show or at least realize that the God that saved us and that we follow is awesome. We also need to realize that we cannot confuse his patience and grace for weakness and a lack of authority. As a people and individually—we each need to humble ourselves and prepare our hearts to meet the Creator of the universe—When we give him the reverence he deserves, he will give us the blessing we so long for! Help me, Lord to meet you humbly and prepared. 

God Bless You

So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.

10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death.