Lent 2022 Day 14
Thu 17 Mar
Exodus 20:1-6 The Law
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.
These are the first two of the Ten Commandments, a list of rules for holy and righteous living. We probably all know about thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not steal, etc. but the opening commands are all about God and how we act before him. I think that everyone already knows that stealing and murder are not going to make for a just and righteous society anywhere.
God is the copyright holder. Just as in the message that may appear on the inside cover of a book, or on a CD, the copyright holder disallows anyone else from claiming any part of that work as their own. When God tells Israel that they shall have no other gods before him, he is not being greedy or selfish in the way we understand those things. No other gods exist, but that does not stop people from creating them and treating them as a replacement for the one and only God.
It's probable that replacement gods would be making fewer demands on the people who worship them, and would allow or even encourage sinful behaviour. We read more than once in the Bible of Temple prostitutes, male and female – now where did that come from, other than from the fetid mind of a disobedient king or priest?
Any deviation (or deviance!) from worship of the One True God is an act of disobedience and rebellion against him. It is not for embellishment that in verse 2 above before he lists the commandments, God reminds his people, now released in Egypt, just who he is. He is the Lord. He rescued his people as he promised. His covenants still stand. Now hear this!
The world may see the Ten Commandments as a list of repressions – of thou shalt nots. A more careful reading does reveal that there are promises embedded in the Commandments Read verse 6 above, and marvel at God’s generosity. A thousand generations’ worth of blessing is worth being obedient for -that’ll be my descendants blessed for the next 30,000 years.
Are there any superstitions that bind you?
Are there any patterns of behaviour disobedient to God that you like to fall into?
Have you ever tried to justify your own particular breaking of the rules?
Do you know any family that seems to be blessed by God?
Father God, you created a covenant that provided long life in the Promised Land for your people. You reveal that you are a generous God of love. You are not angry without cause, but you are abundantly gracious. Thank you, Father, for your love.
Somebody had to do it: