The overall idea of the 10 Commandments is kind of like operating instructions. God created humans, loves them, and He gave instructions to help guide and keep everyone safe. They are good and for our good. Jesus even repeats some of the commandments in His teachings in the New Testament.
The 10 Commandments were essentially laws spoken by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and then written on stone tablets by the “finger of God” . They were to be given to the Israelites to help them create community and to show them how to obey God.
It is important to understand that the 10 Commandments do not exist so that salvation can be earned. Rather, the 10 Commandments show us how impossible it is to be perfect, and therefore emphasise our need for Jesus as our Saviour. That being said, we still strive to obey the 10 Commandments as we strive to become more like Christ.
God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
God makes a huge dome for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed, The day breaking sun an athlete racing to the tape.
That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.
The revelation of GOD is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of GOD are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of GOD are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of GOD are plain and easy on the eyes.
GOD’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of GOD are accurate down to the nth degree.
God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.
There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
This psalm splits into two halves, some say they are so different in subject, language and tone that perhaps they were written by different people. Charles Spurgeon, the Baptist minister, said that this psalm compares and contrasts “the study of God’s two great books-nature and scripture.” The first section tells that the beauty of nature ‘declares the glory of God and the work of His hands’ This is a common theme the astounding diversity, complexity and wonder of nature is constantly declaring the glory of God as the creator. The second half talks of the ‘law of the Lord is perfect’ the gifts that come from following the Laws, asking for forgiveness when we stray, help to discern our errors and help to remain free, so our sins do not rule us. The psalm finishes with the words:
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
a prayer in both Jewish and Christian traditions.
In this letter to the church in Corinth, Paul is stating where the power in the Gospel message resides. Just before our reading Paul discusses a church that is divided over leaders, in verse 17 Paul says:
For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel- not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power
Here, Paul is saying the real power of Christ is from his sacrifice on the cross, not from gaining wisdom and using clever words. This message is echoed in a passage from Isaiah 29 14
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate
In this passage from Isaiah people are saying the right words, following the right rituals but their hearts are not getting closer to God.
Paul continues with two stereotypes, Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom. Paul says to Jews the Christ crucified is a stumbling block, a terrible death of the rebel or robber, to Greeks it is foolishness to consider the cross to be the key, but to those that are called Christ crucified is God’s power and wisdom.
For me I am perhaps more with the Greeks and Jews and find the sacrifice of Jesus an obstacle that leaves me confused. It feels like a doorway, a portal to another world, if you believe Jesus died for you, to forgive your sins, you are born again in a different spiritual realm. This act of belief is a passport to a new world, to salvation. This is touched upon in our final reading.
Nicodemus is refreshingly honest, he says we know you are a teacher from God. Jesus replies
Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again
Poor Nicodemus is confused he is thinking literally born again, Jesus continues with more nudges to help him think in the spiritual realm. In verse 8:
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit
The Greek word for wind and spirit are the same. Poor Nicodemus is still out of his depth, Jesus gets very blunt, and says we have told you the way it is and you do not believe us, I have told you earthly stuff and you do not believe us, how will you believe the heavenly stuff. Jesus decides to make it as simple as possible. No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man.
To ram home the point he continues with an old testament reference:
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him
This refers to a passage Numbers 21 4-9. Moses is leading his people in search of the promised land, a Canaanite King attacks them, the Israelites vow to the Lord deliver these people into our hands and we will destroy them and their towns. The Lord listened to their plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They destroyed their town and the place was known as Hormah which means destruction.
You would think the Israelites and the Lord would be close after such an event, in the next line it says ‘the people grew impatient and spoke against Moses and God, they said:
Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread. There is no water! And we detest this miserable food
This shows how fickle we can be, one moment savouring the favour of God, the next being angry at God because things are not perfect.
The Lord sent poisonous snakes who bit and killed many of the Israelites. They went to Moses saying we have sinned against you and God, please pray for us and take the snakes away. So Moses prayed. The Lord said to Moses:
Make a snake and put it on a pole
So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Whenever anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they were saved, they lived.
Now the first line makes some sense to me, ‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’
“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
This passage makes our situation crystal clear; Are we running from God-light, hiding in darkness? or are we working and living in truth and welcoming the God-light?
May the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you,
that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian,
that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts.
Accept His freedom and embrace His truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
This will be the new experience, the powerful
experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world.
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