Ancient Boundaries at the foot of the "Ear of the Wind"
Monument Valley UT Navajo Tribal Lands
Photo: by myshilohranch
OK, these 2 verses really belong with the "manna" on my last post NO Other gods!. However, these delicacies are definitely not leftovers ... rather, a fresh portion for a new day. In the wilderness, manna that was not gathered nor consumed, rotted. Today we are SO blessed to have the Living Word of God which is fresh, nutritious, and yummy every time we read it.
A short recap:
In Exodus 20:1-2, God had revealed Himself to Moses as "the LORD your God."
In Exodus 20:3-4, God gave a very clear directive: "have no other gods before Me."
Now, the LORD explains further, reveals more about His nature, and sets down consequences.
We pick up the study at Exodus 20:5 (bold/color emphasis is mine)
Eye of God" Monument Valley UT Navajo Tribal Lands
Photo: by myshilohranch
:5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: f or I the LORD your God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate Me;
:6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.
I am coming to know that there are many ways of bowing down and/or serving things or people, other than God. I certainly never "worshipped" anything or anyone as God, so I used to think that I was ok on this point. Au contrere mon frer! (my apologies, I don't know how to spell in Fr.)
Where and how do I spend most of my time?
How about my money? ... my resources?
Do I bend over backwards or about work myself to death, to please others, or to further my career
Do I give more to my spouse than to my God?
How about to my children, ministry, job, house, livestock or pets, boat, my car, hobby, sports ... my TV???
What about all together?
When I add up the time, money, energy that I spend serving all those other needs and desires;
is it equal to, or more than, what I actually give to my God personally???
It is said that whatever you spend most of your time and money on ...
... is your god. YIKES!!!
Oh dear, I seriously feel like throwing up! I am a HORRENDOUS Bride!!!
God tells us, flat out, what pleases Him and what does not. He tells us the consequences of obeying and the consequences of disobeying His rules. No guesswork involved: it is up to us to make the right decisions.
We are no longer bound by the Law and we can, thanks to Jesus, be forgiven for our wrong choices. However, there are still consequences that follow disobedience to God. It is as natural and sure a law, as is gravity ... as surely as good consequences follow obedience to God. Our God has clearly defined our laws for us, and He also helps us to make good choices. Bless His heart!
It also blesses me that the God of the universe is so protective and jealous of me, zealous for me! Little ol' me ... His "BRIDEZILLA!"
Being the Author and Creator of all good, it follows that He would do His absolute best for us and hate to see us turn away and choose anything less! He loves us with a perfect love and He wants NO one or NO thing to come between us and Him. He sees us and treats us as His perfect Bride!
I am also coming to learn that ALL things are created to grow and thrive within safe and secure limits. There are good and loving reasons for this. Within those limits, God provides everything necessary for a safe, healthy, joy filled, productive life. Whereas, outside of the individually set boundaries, is danger of harm, even death. Our Good Shepherd is always watching out for our well being! Should we do any less for those in our lives?
This has been a particularly earth-shaking revelation for me. I totally rebelled against the rules and boundaries that I grew up with. I looked on limits as restrictions to my "freedom." Little did I know then! Actually, within the boundaries is true freedom - freedom from harm!
Perhaps, if there had been equal emphasis on the blessings of obedience, as well as the "punishments" for disobedience ... then again, Adam and Eve had the same problem, didn't they? We humans are really "dumb as dirt," aren't we?
I know one HUGE difference ... God allows us to enjoy as well as suffer, the consequences of our choices. He blesses, as He disciplines and corrects, those that He loves. He reserves "punishment," for very extreme cases, only as a last resort. Then I am not sure that you would term the pouring out of His wrath punishment ... more like annihilation!
"Iniquity" always frightened me. "Perversity, to turn to do wickedly, sin, fault, evil ..." The fact that the propensity towards iniquity can pass down through generations IS scary. In my family? Yes! These consequences should be enough to make us put a halt/stop/end to any and all hatred and/or disobedience toward God in our own families and others ... immediately!
To think that, 3 or 4 generations down the line, a child in our own family could ever experience the consequences for a sin that you or I commit today? YIKES! Oh Dear God: forbid!
God says here that He will "visit" ... that is charge, commit, count, avenge, RECKON ... our sin to them! Ooooo BAAAD! Conversely, we could also be charged with the sins of our forefathers! YIKES again!
Reason enough, right here, to accept Jesus' offer of salvation! Thank You again LORD for providing JESUS to atone for ALL of our sins! What an understatement!
And thank You LORD for Your MERCY that never ends!! You promise to show Your mercy unto thousands (of generations) that love You and keep Your commandments. Now, THAT, my friends is a GOOD inheritance to pass on!!!
love Me: "Love" - beloved, have affection for, like, be friends with. Do I ever do all the talking and expect God to just answer? Unfortunately, the answer is not always, "no." I/you/we must take the time to nurture our friendship with Him, more so than we would a human friend and even more as our Betrothed.
We need to spend time with Him, in His Word, getting to know Him. Find out what He likes and doesn't like ... what are His "favorites?" Wait for Him to answer when we talk to Him, listen to Him. Do things that we know please Him. Surprise Him ... wow, just think of the ways we can bless God! Love is an action word after all!
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments...." 1 John 5:3
keep My commandments: "Keep" - hedge about, protect, attend to, be circumspect, take heed to, look narrowly, regard, observe, preserve, save, watchman. The obvious is that , yes, we need obey God's commands, without question. GOOD consequences follow obedience.
But, WOW, who (besides God) would ever have expected that we would need to literally guard, protect, preserve, save, and watch out for The 10 Commandments? Indeed, they are currently being threatened in every way, right now, in our lifetime!
Oh-my-goodness, I never thought of keeping the commandments in this way before! We, as Christians, God's friends, are charged to do way more than I ever realized. We need to stand up and DO something! While assuming fervent prayer/battle position and wielding our Swords; perhaps we could send just one letter, say to our President, or our local Senator, or Representative? Or.....????
Our AWESOME GOD knows it all ... the beginning to the end ... the perfect balance!
I also noticed some beautiful leadership/parenting principles that God modeled in Exodus 20:2-6:
- identity yourself; personalize your relationship and authority to subject: "I am the LORD your God ... "
- cite positive history related to subject: "which have brought you out ..."
- declare straightforward command: "you shall ..."
- set clear and defined limits: "you shall not ..."
- explain basis for command, the why: "for I the LORD your God am a jealous God ..."
- declare negative consequences for breaking command: because, this is what happens ...
- declare positive consequences for keeping command: "showing mercy..."
Oh yes, this is GOOD stuff! Useful on SO many levels! I have much more to "chew on" here than I expected when I first started this study. Isn't our God SO cool that way?! He always gives us more than enough. Actually, when you have time and get down to it, each word holds a whole lesson, probably each letter too!
So, since I have no idea what is ahead, I will wrap this post up, right here.
I need to read what the Lord had me write and find how He wants me to apply this in my life. Don't you just LOVE how He LOVES us?!! Altogether AMAZING!
I am blessed every day with some new revelation of God's Word.