Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 13 March 2022:
Exodus 20:1-17 – The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. The remainder of the commandments deal with our relationships with others. However, they should not be considered as independent from one another. If we fail in any of the last six, we have already broken the first commandment and the Great Commandment.
Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”
God will not accept you prioritizing something ahead of Him. Anything that influences your decisions more than God is your god at the moment, and idol. The first priority is to put God truly first in your heart, in all that you think, all that you say, and all that you do.
Exodus 20:4 – “You shall not make for yourself a carved image.”
God is spiritual, unseen, and quintessential [beyond the five (quint) senses of hearing, seeing, tasting, feeling, and smelling. We are to worship Him as He is, not attempting to limit His essence by our imaginations. Whether we intend to worship it or not, we should never make an image of God, regardless of the justification we contrive. We are not only incapable of portraying God, we are forbidden from doing so. This commandment actually addresses the sinful nature of our hearts that is constantly trying to create the God of our imagination, one that looks like us and has our attributes. God created man, and man has been trying to create God ever since. It may seem innocent enough to create a statue or image of God, but if you meditate upon this deeply, you will realize just how inappropriate this is. God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
Exodus 20:7 — “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
Careless use of God’s name or careless words about Him show a complete disrespect for Him. God will not be disrespected. This commandment is closely related to the first commandment and the Great Commandment of total love for God. What we say reveals what is in our hearts. Loose words about God reveal a lack of Fear and love for Him.
Exodus 20:20 — “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”
Notice that the Bible says in this one verse, “Do not fear,” and then says we should “fear” Him. The first “fear” involves dread, while the second fear involves reverence, overwhelming respect and appreciation. Sin comes from a lack of reverence for God. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) When you love God, you have no desire to sin and, therefore, have no fear of punishment. When you are guided by love, you don’t need laws to constrain you. You will be able to say, “The love of Christ controls us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)
Psalm 30:5 – “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Your trials won’t last forever.
Psalm 30:6, 7 – “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’
By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.” God will give you challenges to remind you of your total dependence on Him.
Proverbs 13:1 – “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”
A scoffer is a person who simply won’t listen to reason and truth because of their pride. The Bible has much to say about scoffers:
- Don’t listen to scoffers, argue with scoffers, or associate with them. (Psalm 1:1) - Scoffers enjoy and take pride in their rebuttal of truth and ignorance of truth. (Proverbs 1:22) - Arguing with a scoffer will only cause you needless pain. (Proverbs 9:7) - Scoffers hate those who speak the truth. (Proverbs 9:8) - Scoffers refuse to accept a loving rebuke, no matter from whom it comes. (Proverbs 13:1) - Scoffers seek wisdom and often claim wisdom, but they remain foolish because they are blinded by their pride and arrogance – you cannot fix what you are not willing to be honest about. (Proverbs 14:6) - Scoffers will not seek the counsel of those who are wise but rather will surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear. Those who seek the truth are willing to listen to opposing views because truth can withstand any scrutiny. (Proverbs 15:12) - A scoffer can must be controlled externally because they have no self-control. They need external discipline because they do not have internal discipline. (Proverbs 19:29; 21:11) - All scoffers are arrogant and prideful. Pride leads to destruction. (Proverbs 21:24) - Scoffers are the source of quarrelling. Where there is no scoffer, there is no quarrelling. (Proverbs 22:10) - Scoffers are an abomination to mankind before the Lord. (Proverbs 24:9) - Scoffers start fights that can destroy society; they increase disunity rather than unity. (Proverbs 29:8) - Scoffers cannot ‘hear’ (understand or accept) God’s word, even if someone explains it clearly and shows it to them practically. They don’t have an intellect problem; they have a heart (spiritual) problem. Sound reason and evidence cannot convince them. (Isaiah 28:14; Acts 13:41) - Scoffers will be destroyed and face eternal judgment. (Isaiah 29:20) - Scoffers will increase in the last days. (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18) - Scoffers are led by their passions rather than by the Spirit. (Jude 1:18) - Scoffers are fools. There are 118 Bible verses that deal with foolishness. Do a topical study on foolishness to learn more.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 13 Mar 22: Today, pray that God will help you identify and remove any idols in your life – things which are a distraction to your focus on God and have undue influence over your thinking and decision-making.