Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Exodus 17-20

In Exodus 17-20, God's people are traveling from place to place, following His direction.  God is showing His awesome power to His people.  And at the same time, the journey brings out lots of grumbling and frustration, and Moses continues to be in the pressure cooker as the leader.  He finds the help and support he needs in God and Aaron, Joshua, and his father-in-law Jethro.  And as today's reading ends, God appears to Moses and Aaron on Mount Sinai and gives His people the famous Ten Commandments.  

Do you know them, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)?  

1.  I am the LORD your God.  You shall have no other gods before me.

2.  You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it, or worship it.

3.  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord, your God.

4.  Remember and the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

5.  Honor your father and mother.

6.  You shall not murder.

7.  You shall not commit adultery. 

8.  You shall not steal.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house.  You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

It's a little too easy, I realize today, to say I follow the Ten Commandments without giving them the time and attention God meant for them to have in our lives.

When I think about it, God gave these "rules" to the Israelites after they have already seen His mighty hand at work several times.  They have seen God part the waters of the Red Sea and rescue them from the Egyptians.  They have seen God provide them with food and water (from a rock no less).  The Israelites have also witnessed God empower Moses to help Joshua defeat the Amalekites. These are miracles, all evidence of God's unfailing love for His people.

Here comes the BUT...  All God's power is right there with the Israelites, and the they still aren't completely trusting God and His promises for them.  Instead of celebrating His blessings, they quickly get caught up in complaining about what they don't have as God shows them miracle after miracle. 

So, then, God comes to Moses and His people in huge way at Mount Sinai.  He sees their wandering, wondering tendencies, and He wants to make His expectations clear to help them make righteous choices that align with His will for their lives.

These are God's guidelines for realizing the full potential of His love in each of our lives.  He says,

but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Like the Israelites, I catch myself grumbling instead of being thankful at all times for what God is always doing in my life.  

The downfall in doing that is this; it puts me at risk for loosing the sense of direction God so desperately wants to give me.  

These commandments remind us how to live with God at the center of our lives.  

God knew our frailties from the beginning.  He new a list of rules would not save us because we can't help ourselves.  That's why He sent Jesus to be our Savior and our example.  

What do these commandments mean for you and me, here and now? 

Well, for sure, they are much more than a simple, "yes sir" to God.  These "rules" are supposed to help us in acting on God's love.  They are really just the beginning to living in Christ.  Jesus, Son of God and man, shows us what that looks like in the real world.

We'll never be able to live up to Jesus' standard of living on our own, but we can live in the fullness of God's love- through His grace by our faith.

God meets us wherever we are, "showing love" to us, offering us forgiveness, healing, and redemption.  For that, we can be thankful in all our circumstances.

How is God showing You His power and love?

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

I thank you for showing me Your love.  Forgive me for being too quick to grumble instead of living in thankfulness.  You are Lord of all, my one and only, my rock and my redeemer.  Help me to feel Your presence and trust in You for everything that I need and could ever imagine.  I love you with all my heart, and with all my mind, and with all my strength.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Peace of Christ,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 


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