What if….

Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:14 (day two) 

You shall not commit adultery.

As we looked last week at the commandment forbidding murder we quickly found Jesus’ teaching on the topic. You may remember that Jesus dealt not only with the physical act of murder, but the mental state of wrath and malice. It is not too much to assume that the realm of the mind with regards to the command to refrain from adultery holds a similar warning.

We may feel good about ourselves for not committing an act of adultery, but have you allowed you mind to go where it should not? Have you ever been in a place where you began to wonder what if….? The mind is fertile ground for the enemy if not continually surrendered to God. Like most things worth fighting for, our marriages require daily re-commitment to the covenant made with each other and with the Lord. Don’t allow the what ifs. Thank God for your spouse, and work together to strengthen the foundation you have made in Him.

Not just a Don’t

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:13 (day two) You shall not murder.

This negative command is intended to establish a clear directive regarding the sanctity of life. We are not to take a life, but there is so much more inferred in this command. We should NOT murder, but what SHOULD we do. If we look further into scripture with the command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” it gives a clear indication of how we are to interact with each other. This command does not say you can get to the point of taking a life and then stop, no it implies that if we treat each other as image bearers of our Creator our interactions will be much more fruitful. As you look at the days ahead don’t just reach for the low-hanging fruit. Don’t murder….yes, but go further. Treat your neighbor as a fellow journeyman to Jesus. It will certainly change the narrative.

Because He Said So

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:12 (day two) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

Isn’t it incredible that God gives us such a wonderful promise for obeying his command. He certainly does not have to do that. We have all parented using the always effective “because I said so” trope. If ever there was a parent who could get away with that line, surely it’s the Lord. Yet, he doesn’t. He says by given honor to your parents who nurtured and cared for you before you even remember it, at your most innocent and vulnerable stage, then you will be blessed.

The Christian walk is not one that looks to do things for what we might get out of it. That is not what Jesus taught, or how he lived. We act or do not act because it brings glory to our Heavenly Father, and in his great design and mercy He has made provision to bless us. Isn’t our God amazing?

Active Rest

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:8-11 (day two) 

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Sabbath = Rest         Holy = Set Apart

I have sat looking at those two words for several minutes. What comes most to my mind is indictment. I struggle to understand holy rest.  I get exhaustion and general fatigue, but not a regularly recurring respite from the world. If I’m really honest it sounds lazy. That is my confession, but it comes by way of a cultural understanding that there are many that struggle with Sabbath. One of the chronic conditions facing many Americans today is  poor mental health. There is no simple fix, but as believers I would challenge everyone to consider how we are treating this commandment and what the consequences are for us and our children. Why is something so seemingly easy, so dreadfully hard for us to obey? Talk with your family today. How are you going to actively pursue rest?

Words Matter

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:7 (day two) 

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

Words matter. Choosing the way to ask for something can move from a simple plea to a dogmatic demand with a turn of a phrase. I often lament that we don’t exercise our linguistic muscles as a society anymore, and therefore lose the ability to accurately communicate our intent. When we reduce our language to sound-bite worthy statements we lose something of what it means to express ourselves in a meaningful way. How we talk about God and communicate His love and plan is mission critical for all believers, but we are not to wield His name or authority like a blunt instrument. God does not speak idly, and nor should we. Let’s think about praying before speaking on God’s behalf. We may find it better to say nothing at all.

God is not Contained

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:4-6 (day two) 

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

This command has a very contextual to its original audience, and a broader application for the rest of us. The Lord was speaking directly to a people who had come from a land filled with images, statutes, monuments all with some imbued power the Egyptians believed they possessed. The people of Israel were being cautioned away from that type of worship. God will not be contained in a object.

Our warning is simple, and yet we still are in the idol business today. It may not look as overt as a golden calf, but how we idolize fame, fortune, possessions. They very quickly take the place that should be reserved for God. Don’t miss the promise of God’s lovingkindness promised to us that obey. Keep focused.

Only One

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:3 (day two) “You shall have no other gods before Me.

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Matthew 4:8-10

Anything that takes your focus and affection is a ‘god.’ It can be the promise of fame and fortune, but ultimately it costs your soul. God is not in the get rich quick business. He doesn’t guarantee success if you follow him, and frankly  we should be very wary of anyone or thing that does. In fact, all we are promised during our lives is that it will cost us everything. Jesus was not swayed by the promise of the kingdoms of the earth, and we shouldn’t be either. The joy of serving the Lord, and walking in his presence is enough reward for any of us.

Rules for Life

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:1-17 (day two) “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” ‭‭ROMANS‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭

These set of rules have been a bedrock for western civilization for thousands of years, and yet, it seems odd for Paul to state that one of the purposes of the law is to point out our sin. In fact, that is one of the great tenants of our faith, but not in a deterring way. These great tent poles of righteous behavior gives us an anchor to which we can tether our fallen natures. They serve as a reminder of a better way, and a more perfect path. They ultimately point us to Jesus who came to fully live, and to fully obey so that we may further tether our faith to his redeeming example. Don’t be discouraged by the set of rules, be encouraged that God loves us enough to give us guide posts to help steer us.

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”” JOHN‬ ‭14:21‬ ‭

No Sacrifice without a Cost

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day two) However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” vs. 24

Sacrifice always comes with a price. David could have accepted the threshing floor, the oxen, all the was required for a proper sacrifice….except a sacrificial action. If it costs nothing, it is worth nothing. Jesus taught this to his disciples in every way he could.

And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.  And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Luke 21 2-4

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

God rewarded David’s action far beyond what was expected. David was atoning for his disobedience, and praying for mercy for his people. God was continuing to establish his kingdom and would later turn that threshing floor into the foundation of the Temple.

What has your service to Christ cost you? What are you willing to give? Isn’t he worth it all?


Trust Misplaced

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 20 (day two) 

“We have no portion in David,
Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!” vs. 1b

When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 7:12-13

Even the best of us fail. Sometimes, we who follow, put so much faith into leaders of all kinds that when we see their fallen nature surface we become extremely disillusioned and forget the greater call to follow God alone. We will be disappointed if all our trust is placed in human leadership. Preachers, teachers, bosses, politicians (no additional commentary necessary), and even family are subject to our broken nature. We must not lose sight of our call to follow a greater design given to us by God. To put it in a literary context: Camelot was always greater than Arthur. Jesus is and was the only one who never deviated, never doubted, and never broke that covenant with God. Where is your trust? If someone you believe in disappoints you, will you run out and burn the kingdom or trust the larger call to seek the welfare of the city?