My current reading has me in Exodus and Acts. A quick observation on power and control in my early reading: Continue reading “Pharaohs, Pharisees, and Faith”
You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)
In and of itself, this is just a great thing. We can always claim (hopefully), “Well, at least I didn’t kill anyone!” No matter how bad things may get in our lives, we always grasp at something… and most would grasp at this one. It’s such an assurance that we can be complete jerks in so many other ways, but at least we have the wonderful assurance we didn’t murder anyone! (It’s the small things in life, really.)
The command is there to keep people from killing without proper authority. (Even better in the good ol’ USA where we have CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.)
In the Law, there were even provisions for what could be deemed accidental killings. All well and good.
Then… God had to expand on what that meant in the full view of biblical justice. (American justice is simple: do something wrong, pay the price.) Justice in Israel was more holistic. God doesn’t want just the end result nullified… he wants the root of murder pulled out.
And it happens in “flyover” territory… Leviticus. You know, that book you avoid every year when you try to read the Bible through in a year.
16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people,but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.'” (Lev. 19:16-18)
You might have been under the impression Jesus brought in that extra stuff. (Matt. 5:21-22) He is only emphasizing what was already there. But, nevertheless, he wrecks the 10 commandments for us. We want to think about the minimum we can get away with in our lives (“Well, I didn’t kill anyone”) when the Law… and Jesus… tell us, “Love your neighbor.”
This is where redemption is needed. This isn’t just about gun laws or fewer gun laws. This isn’t about the Second Amendment. This is so much more core… and we just can’t get there anymore. It’s how we treat each other. It’s the respect we need to have for humanity. But we are so divided these day, all we have is hate, disdain, fear, contempt for other people and other views.
This is NOT the way of the Kingdom. Our call is live life better. To live in abundance through the power of the Spirit and see something great happen around us.
Don’t look to what you can do minimally. Look to what brings abundance and blessing to those around you.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Ex. 20:8-11)
This isn’t about what “day” the Sabbath is “supposed” to be on. It is not about the specifics of how you “keep it holy.”
This is about trust. Sabbath is trust. The Lord provided a day of rest regularly for a slave nation. They had worked all their lives in every way possible. He then built in other “sabbaths” for them: the land to rest, debts to be settled, etc.
It was all about trust. Could they rely on provision of Yahweh, or did they think the world would stop turning if they didn’t take a day off? Could they trust Yahweh with what they did NOT do as well as what they DID do?
Is there a TRUST in the Father in your life? Or, are you there to “help God out?”
As we journey through Exodus 19-24 this week our MULTIPLY reading, I am walking a bit more slowly through the 10 commandments. It is impossible to unpack that passage in one sermon, so I am jotting some thoughts down along the way this week to spur on more thinking.
What does it mean to NOT “take the Lord’s name in vain?” The NIV says “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
Through the time of deliverance God kept unfolding his name to Israel. As he “unpacked” the power of his name, it was important for Israel to keep recognizing Yahweh was the One who had delivered them. To not revere that fact was to “misuse” his name.
J.K. Bruckner in his commentary on Exodus said this:
This is a direct reference to remembering who had delivered them. God’s reputation was tied to God’s name in the exodus. Its “use” or “lifting up” in a positive way declared God’s works of grace and deliverance. To speak of the Lord after Sinai was also to declare that God’s laws were formative for the new community of faith. To speak of God without reference to the creating law and redeeming gospel could be a vain use of God’s name, that is, God’s reputation.
Remember who delivered you. Remember who redeemed you. Hold him holy. To use his name is to refer to HIM.
May my words truly reflect the holiness of my God!
If there is any passage I could wear out in any physical Bible, it would be (and is, by the way I look in different translations and see I’ve already been there and marked it up incessantly) Ex. 33:13-23.
Almost every day I have a prayer: Seek the favor of God.
Moses leads the way for me. He constantly longs for the favor of God. He asks for his very presence. He asks what no one else has asked for as a leader. God grants as fully as possible what Moses can take. Why? Because Moses won’t give up.
His life is intercession.
Yet, while I pray that request with some frequency, I find that while I mark up that passage with regularity, and visit it often… I am not in the same category with Moses. I like the thought of the glory of God… but not enough to sit there and wait for God to move!
I am impatient. I am lazy. I am distracted.
Moses cries out, “Teach me your ways!” and then has the wisdom to actually sit and wait for the instruction. I too often cry out the same request, then slam my Bible shut and race off to the next thing.
Lord, forgive my presumption. Forgive my false starts. Forgive my lazy questions and request. Grant me the heart of Moses. Grant me the tenacity of a man who had learned through time that God isn’t in any hurry, so why should he be rushed? Lord, when I ask, “Teach me your ways,” may I then sit and wait for some instruction!
Israel had been in Egypt over 400 years and couldn’t wait a few days for Moses to come down the mountain with the commands of the Lord. They defaulted to what they knew: the gods of Egypt.
I’m more Israel than Egypt. I don’t wait. I default.
The command of the Lord is to wait. It’s not because he is mean. It’s because he has to get Egypt out of us as he applies the power of the Kingdom to our lives.
Lord, forgive my impatience! Teach me to wait!
You must have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3)
The call of God to Israel was to not only be free of the outward slavery of Egypt, but to have their hearts set free as well. 400 plus years of slavery didn’t just effect their physical and mental status. It enslaved their hearts as well.
The plagues on Egypt weren’t just for Pharaoh. They were for Israel. They needed Egypt out of their hearts just as much as they needed their bodies out of Egypt.
We often have too much of Egypt in us. We play with the gods of this age. We think we “play” with the God of all creation.
He didn’t save us to “play.” He saved us and called us to a new allegiance. No more Egypt.