April 4, 2015

God’s wisdom seen in His commandments

Deuteronomy 5:1–6:25, 2 Corinthians 2:1–11, Psalm 33:1–22

When the Lord brought His people out of slavery in Egypt, He gave them Ten Commandments. Moses repeated these just as they were about to enter their Promised Land. I’m continually learning the importance of each one: 

You shall have no other gods before me. Keep this one, or I cannot keep any of them.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything . . . You shall not bow down to them or serve them . . .  Do not insist on having a god that I can see, putting my ideas of god above the true God, as if I have a better definition.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. God’s name has great power; to use it to curse is bad enough, but using it lightly or without thought also mocks Him.

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy . . . remembering that I was once in slavery to sin and am now resting in the freedom of Christ. Celebrate that every day, but especially keep one day a week free to just love Him.

Honor your father and your mother . . .  this command promises a long and prosperous life without it being diminished in any way because I’ve not honored them. Such honor is not about how good they are but an expression of thanks to God for the life they gave me.

You shall not murder. Value life and trust God for the way others treat me. Imagine the world if this command were obeyed by everyone!

And you shall not commit adultery. Value marriage, mine and the marriages of others.

And you shall not steal . . . which is a brazen declaration that God cannot provide all my needs.

And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Value truth. Truth brings freedom while lies enslave.

And you shall not covet . . . which also brazenly declares that God cannot provide all my needs and that He does not care for me or even know how to care for me. (Deuteronomy 5:6–21)

And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. (Deuteronomy 6:24)

What if I can keep the commands and others do not? The NT reading gives good advice for when this happens (and it will happen): “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:10–11)

Satan uses lack of forgiveness to divide people from each other and from God. It also puts me in the place of God, who alone has the right to have wrath against sin. The Christian life is a spiritual battle. I must not let the enemy take any ground that Christ has already won for me.

As I think about these things, the words of the psalmist bless me. He gives expression to how I feel this day about the goodness of God and the grace of Jesus Christ . . .

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!  . . . Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33: 8–12; 20–22)

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