Sunday, August 3, 2014

First Key to Right Living

The post was prepared in advance, as is my wont.  But I inadvertently published it a day early.  Jim Grey caught it, and commented on it yesterday.  I took it down and saved it for this morning.  But, and this is important, I would like for you to read Jim's comment, for I believe his observation is critical to the discussion, and his take on this is more important than my observations, for he emphasizes that God's desire for us to put Him first is an expression of His concern for our best interest.

Moses stood before the burning bush and asked who was speaking to him.  God replied, "I AM."  Moses stood atop Sinai and God told His people, "I AM the Lord thy God."  Then He said, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Why did the Lord not put a period after the word "gods"?  "Thou shalt have no other gods."

 Is there not an implication that there are gods other than I AM?    Yes, mankind holds before himself many gods, and the Lord is well aware of this, especially since, as our Creator, He knows us better than we know ourselves.  The thrust here seems to be not a requirement of the Lord that we recognize no other gods, but rather as He went on to say, "Thou shalt not bow thyself down to them, nor serve them."  It seems to me that God knows we will have gods, yet he demands that we eschew worship of them.

Of the many things that we allow to be "gods" in our lives, some are marvelous tools, or servants. Yet as masters, they are inefficacious, ineffectual, hurtful.  Money is a tool, a lousy master.  Power is a servant with which we are to serve the common good, not the self alone.

A person's own intellect is a marvelous tool and not to be wasted; but they who worship at the altar of their own intellects have puny and pitiful gods, indeed.

God even provided a good motivator for giving Him first place in our lives.  "For I AM a jealous God, and I will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me."  YET:  "I will show mercy on those that LOVE ME and keep my commandments."

The Ten Commandments can be found in The Book of Exodus, chapter 20; or in Deuteronomy, chapter five.


Jim Grey said...

Even though Jehovah is "a jealous God," I think that his desire to hold us to himself was not the only, and maybe not the primary, motivation for telling us not to put gods before him. It was because he knows, as you point out, that none of these other gods can fill that space in our lives that he can, that all of those gods will one day let us down and hard. I think that a broad model for describing sin is anything we might do that harms others, harms ourselves, or repudiates God. He made us, he loves us, he wants us to gather to him -- he does not want to see us hurt any more than this world makes necessary. He gives us his words and his wisdom and even his commands so that "you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Deut. 5:33.

Sharkbytes said...

Always way too easy to get things in the wrong order in our lives.

vanilla said...

Jim, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I put a "new" intro to the piece and encouraged readers to study your comment. I think your definition of sin is quite comprehensive.

Sharkey, Paul rather addressed that issue in Romans 7. One must ever be on watch to avoid making idols to those other gods.

Jim Grey said...

Thanks David, and thanks for validating my sin model. I look forward to many more Sunday lessons from you.