The beginning of 2009, I was led to study the Bible in a new way (to me). I have been writing down the Scriptures (starting at the Genesis 1), Word for Word, and studying as the Lord leads and time allows. This has been such a MAJOR blessing to me! God has revealed so many new, interesting and exciting things from His Word, that I always want to share. I haven't had time to blog, sooo ... I am going to attempt to marry blogging with my morning study. I hope I can, in some way, impart my blessings to you.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Exodus 20:5-6 ~ Limits and Consequences

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;

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 Boldconsequences 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:
  1. identity yourself; personalize your relationship and authority to subject: "I am the LORD your God ... "
  2. cite positive history related to subject: "which have brought you out ..."
  3. declare straightforward command: "you shall ..."
  4. set clear and defined limits: "you shall not ..."
  5. explain basis for command, the why: "for I the LORD your God am a jealous God ..."
  6. declare negative consequences for breaking command: because, this is what happens ...
  7. 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!

Oh Dear Father, GOD of Moses and my God,
Please forgive me for spending more of
my time, resources and talents on
hay, wood and stubble
than I have spent on You.
You are the very reason for my being.
I desire with all of my heart
to love You and keep Your commandments;
To bless You and those in my path.
Please change my heart, my mind, and my ways,
to match Yours.

I am blessed every day with some new revelation of God's Word.
I will be sharing my measure of manna with all who come to my "tent.
Please, let me know if you have been blessed
by the way it was prepared for you this day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Exodus 20:3-4 ~ NO other gods!

Photo: Myshilohranch, Quote: God

My meager attempt to capture the feel, of Lord's very
first commandment to Moses!

I have been so impressed and in awe of the "BIGness" of the LORD speaking audibly to Moses, the RHEMA delivered by the Author Himself to Moses, Personally! WHOA! ... I am undone to think of it!

The closest thing that I can relate to, was standing on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon earlier this year (below). The Presence of God was SO palpable that you could almost hear Him whisper. He definitely spoke to us in His still small voice. If He spoke right out loud to us there, surely we would have just ceased to be! No wonder "Enoch walked with God and he was not ... !" (Genesis 5:24) I know: God actually took Enoch ... but still ...

How important must keeping this commandment be; for Him to make it the very first??!! Serious business here ... and He wants us to know it!Bold Our God wants a very personal and monogamous relationship with us! That, my friends, is very clear!

Seems like it should be easy to keep that relationship going, doesn't it? Given how much He loves us? However, it is not easy, nor does reciprocating His love come naturally to us. The Israelites totally forsook their relationship with God within a mere 40 day period ... and they had just HEARD His voice in PERSON!

The New Testament tells us that we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Moses surely did his share of fear and trembling, so did the Israelites ... what happened? Do we no longer tremble? Do we need Old Testament "shock and awe" again?

Several times on our road trip, my granddaughters and I spoke of how very small we felt in the midst of the places we visited. How could anyone ever think too highly of themselves, up next to these ancient and humongous rocks??? We are but the size of a very small boulder in Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, or Sedona ... in the universe, even smaller! YET, God loves each one of SO much ... enough to die, just for us!

See the tiny little white thing in lower right corner? It is a person.

We pick up our study in Exodus 20: (bold/color emphasis is mine)

:3 You shall have no other gods before Me.

:4 You shall not make4 unto you any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

That should about cover every single thing included in verse 1, as in NO other gods! Exactly what part of NO do we not get?

We are commanded not to make anything to come before Him! What, in this whole wide world, could be more important ... or urgent than making God "Numero Uno" in our life? Unfortunately, I still find myself getting totally distracted and often let other things take my attention off of HIS plan for me. *hangs head in shame* I thought I was doing good on this one ... no "idols" in my house! What I did no know is that idols are not all Italicmade of stone, wood, and metal ... , granted, getting rid of those is a good start!

Satan is sneaky and insidous. If he can distract us and get us to break God's First Commandment, the others are a piece of cake! Fortunately, the opposite also works: if we focus on keeping God's "first thing first" ... obeying His others will be easier too!

I generally don't care to be too involved with anything that lives in the earth beneath us; most are disgusting looking or mean! ... much less things that may exist in the water that runs under the earth!!!! Blechhh at the thought! ... so, I should be "fine." ... really?

Well ... we don't have statues or images of devils, demons or foreign gods. Please, no judgements here ... and none intended ... we may have a picture of Jesus and, well, an angel or two, at Christmas mostly ... and a bunny and uh eggs, at Easter ... but we don't worship these images .... now wait a minute ...

Maintaining my relationship with God as my Number One Priority is the main point ...

Excuse me, I have to go to my prayer closet and repent ... again

*Short study due to limited posting time ... ahem

Oh Dear Father, I am SO sorry
for not keeping Your commandments.
Thank You for providing Jesus to do what I can never do,
to atone for my sin and fufill all of Your Law.
I am humbled and thankful that You love me that much.
Please keep me keenly aware of Your Presence in all I do.
Open my ears to hear Your voice
my eyes to see You
my heart to obey You
Don't let me get too busy or distracted
Set my priorities
according to Your will
Never let me put any thing before You!
I LOVE You Lord
You are my God
I am Yours completely and always

I am blessed every day with some new revelation of God's Word.
I will be sharing my measure of manna with all who come to my "tent.
Please, let me know if you have been blessed
by the way it was prepared for you this day.