WHEN GOD SPEAKS
Monday, 7 October 2019
“Then God spoke all these words…“ - Exodus 20:1
Throughout the Bible we see various instances when God spoke with man. The creator God was always interested in communicating with His creation. We see a God who spoke with people at various intersections of their lives. In today’s reading, God gives His directives to Israel to organize their lives that is befitting God’s standard at a crucial juncture in their history.
However, the response of the people was one of fear. In Exo 20:19 they said, “let not God speak to us, or we will die.” But God’s intention of giving these laws was to bless them. In Deut. 5:29, God stated that if people would obey His commandments, then it shall be well with them and their sons! Often our reaction towards God’s laws is one of fear thinking that His intention is to restrict us from our freedom. However, God’s laws are not restrictive, but protective.
For the past 430 years these people were slaves, under the subjection of a powerful regime, who dealt with them treacherously. Now, God has delivered them and is bringing them through the nations as His treasure!! “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession ……” (Deut.7:6). So, God wanted His chosen people who had lost their identity (with centuries of slavery) to have an identity of their own. And that identity is built upon God. Earlier too had God declared His vision about the nation of Israel: “ …you shall be My own possession ……. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priest and a holy nation.” (Exo.19:5-6) The Ten Commandments and other laws were given to distinguish them from other peoples on the earth.
The first Four commandments concern their attitude towards God and the last Five, their attitude towards other fellowmen. Connecting these two sets of commandments is the fifth commandment, which is to honour parents. Thus, the Ten Commandments were a yard stick to measure their allegiance and love to God. 1 Tim.1:8 says that the Law is good if one uses it lawfully; because the law will always expose the shortcomings of man, making him aware of his need for repentance. The law is like a mirror that shows the dirt but cannot wash it off! When man failed in fulfilling the requirements of the Law, God came down to this earth in human form and fulfilled it! In Matt.5:17 Jesus said that He came to fulfil the law. Romans 10:5 declares “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” and in Romans 8:3 “For what the law could not do, …God did, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh…”
God loves you through Jesus Christ: you are His special possession; He is taking you through life every day, displaying you to the world as His witness, His Royal priesthood. Therefore, He gives His guidelines / instructions for those who are His, to have a distinct identity in this polluted and perverse world. He asks us the same as He required from the Israelites: in your life God should be the priority – to Him belongs that prime position. You should deal with your brothers / sisters in a godly manner; you should respect your parents. Paul emphasized it in Eph.6:1-3.
You are chosen by Jesus and sealed in Him (John 15:26 & Eph.1:13). May it become your distinctive identity in this world that you conduct the affairs of your life according to God’s standards.
Father God, I confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and I surrender my life to live according to Your guidelines. Forgive me every instance when I considered myself and several others and things above God in my life. Through Jesus forgive my shortfalls and accept me. In Jesus name – Amen.
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