Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A New Perspective for a New Year: Part 2

We began our new perspective on the Ten Commandments by discovering God is supreme. He alone is God. Let's see what the second command reveals about God's character. Let's also discover what He does for us through this command and how Jesus fulfills it.
2.     Deuteronomy 5:8 “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments”
God creates and created us to be creative. As a result we create all kinds of things including our own gods. We even attempt to create god in our own image.  He is irreducible as well as irreplaceable. God is not His creation and he refuses to be bound to it or to our concepts of it. Nor is He contained by creation. Judaism and Christianity are not pantheism. God is not the creation and the creation is not God. 

He stands alone as the Master Workman Who made us. Nothing we make can compare to Him. All our abilities, strength, and life itself He gave us to use for His glory. Only God, the Master Workman, deserves worship, not His works or ours.
This reality proves the benefit of this second command. We can be free of insecurity. Insecurity manifests itself in pride. Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s boast, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30. To which God replies “No! I created you and this kingdom for My majesty and you’re going to bow now.” (This is the Teriphrase of what happened).

God removed the kingdom from its proud king to reveal he could not secure his own glory. Nebuchadnezzar's accomplishments pale to God's and result from God's providence. He had no grounds for boasting. God wants us to realize we will always fail if we trust what we have. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who realize their poverty and seek God for their security.
How does Christ fulfill this command? He stooped to be the ultimate image bearer. The Creator chose to put on created flesh and dwell among us so that we could see God. In a sense God carved an image for us in the incarnation. God reminds us in this second command that He is jealous. Those who love Him experience the reality that God is love. It is His faithful love that justifies His jealousy. Love is giving and forgiving. Experiencing God’s hate is the result of rejecting God’s love. In Jesus God both gave, and forgave all who choose to be secure in His love. 

Are you experiencing that security today or are you claiming your success and failures as your own, carving your own image of God? Remember, “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Yes, create, work, but give glory to the Workman Who works in you. Worship Him not His work, and rest securely in His love.
Heavenly Father,
 You are our Creator. You have created the earth and all in it and you have given us dominion over it. Please, deliver us from the foolishness of being ruled by that which we should rule over. May we bow to you alone and give You glory for all You have done and are still doing through us. May we rest in Your love, confessing our failures and receiving the freedom of forgiveness. Amen

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A New Perspective for a New Year; Part 1 of 10

Did you enjoy beginning your new year on the first day of the week this year? I sure did. There is no better way to start the year than in worship with the fellowship of the saints on the Lord’s Day,   I felt the moving of the Spirit upon my heart to make God’s glory my priority this year. To see more clearly the wonder of Who He is, and reflect more accurately His image. After all it is the chief end of man right?  With this in mind let’s consider the old adage, “You can’t legislate morality.” True or false? 

How about true and false? True, laws will not make people moral. False, laws are amoral. Every piece of legislation, whether human or divine, is a reflection of a moral bearing. The Ten Commandments cannot make us moral. God knew when He gave the law that we could not keep it. So what was the point? To show us the reality that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

To view the Decalogue merely as a prohibitive list of do’s and don’ts circumvents the reality that the Law reveals God’s moral perfection. What did we fall short of? His glory! And since I’m all about His glory I invite you to join me in a new look at the Old Ten. Let’s enjoy just one a day and gain a greater appreciation of Who our Father is.

Deuteronomy 5: 6 “‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Reread those first six words. First of all notice it’s all about Him. Secondly, it's about what He does for us.
1.     “‘You shall have no other gods before[a] me.”

God introduces Himself by many names. In Genesis 2 He calls Himself Adoni. It means lord or boss. El Elyown, “God Most High” first appears in Genesis 14:18-20. In this passage we see the first priest mentioned in the Bible, Melchizedek, Priest of God Most High. Through the prophet Isaiah God refers to Himself as the First and the Last. “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6) We should not have any god before Him because there are no gods before Him. He alone is supreme. He is the Most High, the First and the Last.
So what does He do for us in this command? He frees us from the notion that anything else can satisfy our soul. Accept no substitutes! He reminds us that He alone creates and sustains life. The reality is we have all had gods before Him. We try to find satisfaction through the creation: people, places, things rather than in the Creator Who made everything. Yet in this first simple command He reminds us that the hole in our hearts was made for Him alone, and only He is big enough to fill it.
There remains a third aspect of the law that displays God’s glory. Jesus fulfilled it. In the verses that precede Isaiah 44:6 God makes a promise to His people, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty.” We hear Jesus, the Redeemer, the Alpha and Omega, fulfill this promise to an immoral woman by a well, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.” John 4:14a. 
Dear Father, 
In this new year let us enjoy the freedom of having You alone as our soul's satisfaction. Let us rest in You alone as our sustenance. You are the Living Water. You are the Bread of Life. You alone are God. May we have no others before you. Amen