Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:7 – (day six) “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
I changed my name when I was 16. Growing up I went by my middle name, but decided to go by my first name at the beginning of my junior year. There simply were too many other “Mikes” in the same dorm; I wanted to be set apart. Names offer distinction, separateness.
When God tells Moses His name at the burning bush that’s exactly what His name accomplishes. There is none like him, there never was, nor will there ever be. God’s name embodies His otherness, His holiness. This is precisely why he commands us to never take it for granted.
Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:4-6 (day six)
It’s not only punitive, it’s reality. Growing up in west Africa there were a
number of things that were essential to living a healthy life, like malaria medicine, or filtered water. To remove either one of these, especially filtered water, you would avail yourself to all sorts of disastrous results. Removing God and erecting an idol in your life is very similar. You cannot expect your life or family to function in a productive, healthy way when you take God out of center.
That’s exactly God’s warning in the second commandment-your family will go awry for generations if you worship idols.
Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:3 (day six)
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
The 10 Commandments were intended to do for more than condemn us. This new covenant with the people of Israel was God’s next step in restoring His blessing. The first commandment then, with the others to follow, show us the way or what’s required. “You shall have no other gods before me” is not only a worth demand from God, but a state of being. When we devote ourselves to the Lord alone, when we love Him with all of our heart, when we know Him and follow Him above all else, then we know his blessing. The same blessing He promised Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob, and now the people of Israel, ultimately fulfilled in Jesus.
Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:1-17 (day six)
“This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”-Jesus, John 17:3
This is a first; a significant introduction. Up to this point stories of God had been handed down from Abraham to Jacob, and onto his sons, grandsons, and great grandsons, but nothing had been written down, until now. God sets a new precedent, that His Word would become His primary and most concrete form of revelation, with the Ten Commandments serving as a formal introduction to a chosen people.
And not just a greeting, but an introduction to eternal life. God gives His people His written law, so they might know Him, love and obey Him, and thus have eternal life. The law tells us, there is no god like our God.
The law proclaimed it, Jesus, the Word, fulfilled it.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day six)
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel,... 2 Samuel 24:1
Would we be okay with a God who is never angry? Our world would have us believe if God does exist then he most certainly would love us just the way we are. But in truth no one would settle for a God like that at all. A God who doesn’t get angry is a God who doesn’t love. A God who doesn’t get angry is far off, uncaring of the affairs of humanity, indifferent. A God who doesn’t get angry, is a God who doesn’t redeem.
The only reason we know God’s mercy and grace is because he gets angry. An angry God is an intervening God. So, no, we wouldn’t be okay with a passive, indifferent God.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 20 (day six)
The wise woman of Abel weighed the costs. Her city harbored the rebel leader Sheba, while Joab and his army besieged the city. She determined the costs were too high. Death and destruction were literally at Abel’s door (or gate), not to mention the impact its destructive would have on neighboring towns. The wise woman convinces others in Abel that harboring the rebellious fugitive will only lead to death, so they do what needs to be done, they put Sheba to death and show the evidence to Joab, and the city is saved.
What I appreciate most about the wise women is her willingness weigh the costs and take immediate action. Reminds me of Jesus when he said, “If your eye causes you to sin, gauge it out!”
Whatever it takes.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 18 (day six)
Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it. -Jesus, Matthew 16:25
He’s been there all along, but we often look past him with David taking up most of our attention. In some ways, this story is as much about Joab as it is David and Absalom. Joab is David’s nephew. Rising among the ranks, he eventually became David’s right hand general and political advisor. Joab also knew how to play the game, with his own political future being the most important objective. He is impulsive, often taking matters in his own hands. Joab, is not a man to be messed with.
While mostly loyal to David, we find him, in this account, disregarding a clear request from David, “spare my son’s life.” Years later, Joab would eventually die by the sword (Solomon’s order, and David’s final request) as a traitor and murderer.
Joab was stagnant; he never moved (towards God). He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He died like he lived, looking out for himself.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 16 (day six)
So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 2 Samuel 16:13
The progressive stories, as David flees Jerusalem, serve as a powerful reminder: sin separates. Shimei stood on the hillside, with a ravine separating he and David. Isn’t this truly symbolic of David’s condition? His son was trying to kill him and take his throne, his country was splitting in two, even servants were betraying their masters. It’s hard to imagine how things could get any worse.
Sin is a wedge; it always splits things in two. David’s sin created a fault line that would ripple through his family and kingdom. Whether hidden or public, sin will always lead to painful separation. This is why forgiveness is not an end in itself; it is always intended to make a way for reconciliation, to make that which is separate, whole again. Like husbands and wives, old friends,… or God and man.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 15 (day six)
But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” Vs. 21
The betrayal is staggering. Absalom (his son), Ahithophel (trusted adviser), and many in Israel, conspire against King David. Loyalty went to the highest bidder, but not Ittai the Gittite. Even David thought it wiser for Ittai to to stay in Jerusalem, giving his allegiance to the “new” king. But Ittai wasn’t having it; he would go wherever David went, even if it cost him his life.
We don’t talk often enough about loyalty. Loyalty is being unyieldingly committed to a person, regardless the cost. We see the same quality in Jesus, especially when he tells his disciples, “I will not leave you or forsake you.” Or, “And look, I will be with you until the end of the age.” Jesus is fiercely loyal. He demands the same of us.
“Anyone who loses his life for my name, will find real life.” -Jesus, Matthew 16:25
Loyalty, sounds an awful lot like faith, doesn’t it. Be loyal.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 13:1-33 (day six)
If you don’t mind, I am taking a little detour into Matthew 28, rather than sticking with 2 Samuel 13. Being Easter, I thought it only fitting.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19
The truest Christian life, is a life never alone. By definition the Christian life can only be lived in relationship; it’s its very purpose (John 17:3). So, it is no wonder Jesus concludes Matthew 28 in this way, “as you go, you will see I am always with you; you will never go alone.” Okay, I added a few words, but isn’t that what Jesus is saying?
The disciples were worried of course, left to fulfill Jesus’ mission in His absence (at least so they thought), but I think these words were intended for more than just assurance. What if they were intended to help them in the going, a little motivation. So rather than don’t worry, I will always be with you, Jesus meant, when you go, you will see me there.
Let me flip it. What if we struggle to see Jesus (or feel alone) sometimes because we are slow in the going? If we could only get the lead out of our feet, maybe we would have regular encounters with Jesus.
Just a thought.