Thursday, October 27, 2016

First Things First

"Then God spoke all these words, saying,
 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

 You shall have no other gods before Me." - Exodus 20

In my men's group Bible study we've started going through the ten commandments and this week was this one.  I try to put out at least one post a month for anyone who reads them ( and If you do, I am glad and thank you) but for everyone post that I start, there are about 2 or 3 unfinished ones that sit in the box unfinished. God tells me things in his word but not everything that he tells me is what I'm supposed to share with everyone else. Sometimes I get incensed over something I can see biblically or I have a commentary on something that is said. This time, I was sitting in the Bible study and I knew that this was going to be the post today.

This one command has a few parts in it:
1. I am the Lord your God
2. who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
3.out of the house of slavery
4. you shall have no other gods before me.

"I am the Lord your God" Seems easy enough for most of us to say in our minds, because he obviously is God. He doesn't say I am A Lord who is A God, though. He makes it personal from the start. He's commanded that we recognize him as OUR God. If I had done all the things that God has done, I'd probably insist on recognition too, lest I get mad at a bunch if ingrates and want to smite them all and start over with like, Moses or something. ( Not saying I'm godly, saying I can relate on some things that God feels to a marginal degree)
I think it was Jeff Durban that said "Everyone is already in a relationship with God, and that relationship is either at hostility with God or at peace with God."  I can see that in this.
"Who brought you out of the land of Egypt" I personally see this as God brought me out of the area in which I was afflicted and the land in which harshness occurs. This comes to mind:
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.- Psalms 23

When I read that I believe that God takes me from the place of hardship and he gives me peace.
"Out of the house of slavery" Sin is bondage. God commands that we be taken out of bondage, out of the house of slavery. This one is difficult for me. Knowing that often I choose sin in all its disgusting ways, I often feel unworthy of being brought out of the house of slavery. I some times think that punishment is warranted. God wants me to be free of that, free of all that would hinder me from him. I, in my own mind sometimes think differently and that is something that on occasion makes me believe that I fail at...
"You shall have no other god's before me"
I don't worship Zeus or Moloch and I don't make offerings to Baal. I try to not get wrapped up in the ways of Mammon and I don't praise Neptune, Dagon or any one of the water types. I do often think that I live by my own hand. I do often think that what ever I do is good enough and that it doesn't matter to God. I do often put my time and effort in things that aren't centered around him. I do sometimes think that I don't deserve to be forgiven. I do some times think that other people who have wronged me don't deserve to be forgiven either, and you know what.... isn't that nearly the same?
When we say, "God doesn't care if I do this" when God's word says that he does, aren't we really having another god before him? Aren't we really making God into OUR own image INSTEAD of being conformed to His?
It comes in various forms. It could be something as simple of eating something that God says isn't food, or something as complex as taking a life that God says wasn't yours to take.

I feel pretty guilty writing all of this because I always know the ways that I could be a better doer of what I believe in. I hold tight to the grace that God has afforded me, and I am glad for His mercy. I lament all the times that I build gods before Him. he still loves and is faithful to save me from bondage and hardship even though I am often not a great believer.  

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