EXODUS 20 & ACTS 19
Guess what? The “LAW” is not obsolete in our lives. It is NOT what most Christians think or worse have been taught either. Ordinarily they are thought of as a list of dos and don’ts. A legal code. They are so much more than that. (read my previous blog) The laws found in the Torah, Hebrew word for first five books of the bible and actually means INSTRUCTIONS, are God’s instructions on how He wants His people to live. They are God’s Ketubah to His bride. Many christians are taught that they are a bad thing, that we no longer need the “LAW” because Christ brought GRACE. Hold on a minute while I punch my pillow. This exasperates me so much because it could not be farther from the truth. Hear me say this loud and clear… THE LAW IS NOT THE OPPOSITE OF GRACE! If you have been taught that you are no longer under the law but under grace, it is a distortion of the truth. The whole concept is that because we have received Jesus we no longer need to worry about the laws of the OLD TESTAMENT. I mean do we really think that we no longer need to keep GOD’S LAW? Or do we think we can just PICK and CHOOSE what we would like to adhere to? Do we think that because we have Jesus we can do whatever we want and He just COVERS IT? Do we think that God calls us to an AFFAIR and not a MARRIAGE? NOOOOOOOOOOOO….…GIRL/BOY NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Look I know that Paul can be confusing because he says a lot of things about grace and law. At first glance, NOT TAKING EVERYTHING IN ENTIRETY, it can seem that grace does conquer law. That is why it is important to study scripture in its entirety. Yes, Paul says things like… before faith we were kept in custody to the law, Galatians 3:23, or if led by the spirit you are not under the law, Galatians 5:18. Paul realized that some gentiles may take these statements wrong and in Romans very clearly stated that the grace of God does not give us the right to SIN, or break God’s commandments. We have to understand that when the church was expanding to include Gentile believers, the Jewish believers were trying to make Gentiles, Jewish. The idea that Gentiles HAD to become Jewish was “LAW” and that they had to convert in order to come into the Kingdom. Paul was saying NOT TRUE< NOT TRUE< they do not have to come under the “LAW” to enter the KINGDOM. Our bible DOES NOT teach the idea of grace versus law. GRACE is and has always been God’s FREE GIFT of salvation and LAW has always been God’s LOVING INSTRUCTIONS for His bride on how to live in covenant. They ARE NOT in opposition to one another they are actually meant to go hand in hand bringing value to each other. The Christian church has done a great job at separating the two and actually devaluing the beauty of God’s covenant with us. Here is the problem…. Things get really jacked when we think we have to DO in order to RECEIVE God’s grace. The truth is BECAUSE we freely receive God’s grace we DO. See how easy that can get JACKED UP. When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt He had not yet spoken ONE WORD of covenant. It was NOT until AFTER He redeemed and rescued them that He spoke COVENANT and started to RESTORE! It was not until the people of God decided to receive the instructions and obey that they entered into covenant relationship with God. It is so important for us to understand this truth as we move forward in the readings.
Let me point this out as well before we move on… The Torah, or instructions of God, have 613 laws. Some are cray cray and leave us scratching our head like WHAT THE WHAT. Remember this, of those LAWS some are dealing ONLY with the JEWISH PEOPLE, some are dealing ONLY with the land of ISRAEL, and some deal ONLY with the TEMPLE. As gentile believers in Jesus we are grafted into the people of Israel and are the seed of ABRAHAM but WE ARE NOT JEWISH, do not LIVE in the land of Israel, do not worship at THE TEMPLE, and not all LAWS pertain to us. Today we are going to take a CLOSER look at the ten commandments which DO pertain to ALL believers. Remember as we go over these commandments that they are actually an invitation from God for us to enter into a MARRIAGE with Him, to walk and live in COVENANT. In the pronouncing of the terms and conditions of both parties God is saying WILL YOU and in answering YES, God places a ring upon our finger and we are forever HIS.
Exodus 19.… God HIMSELF says if you HEAR my voice and KEEP my commands you will be MY OWN POSSESSION. In Hebrew the word "HEAR" means obedience. The proof that you heard is that you obey. God was saying obey my voice and then HE spoke forth the terms and conditions of the marriage. Understand that before this time God had ONLY SPOKEN to select individuals. ABRAHAM, NOAH, ISSAC, and MOSES were among the few and the rest of human race was kinda just figuring out this religion thing. God was in a sense hidden but when He stepped down into humanity, filled the mountain with His presence, and summoned a people to a wedding, GOD SPOKE out the contract and there was no arguing with HIS WORDS. These were the terms and MAN/WOMAN did not have a say. No longer could MAN/WOMAN decide for themselves what was right. God was in control and He still remains the same today… IN CONTROL inviting us into a MARRIAGE. When God released His voice that day at MOUNT SINAI, He was not declaring a theology statement or announcing denominational creeds. God was releasing commandments that represented the LAWGIVER. With every commandment God was declaring divine revelation of WHO HE IS. Jesus told us that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth SPEAKS. When God spoke out of the FIRE and LIGHTING that day HE was speaking the fullness of HIs heart to His SEGULAH, HIs treasured possession and desiring to receive the fullness of theirs as well. OH HOW HE HAS ALWAYS LOVED US!
The ten commandments have been broken up in so many ways in translation. Im goin to use the order of the Hebrew scriptures for this blog.
1.....I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD WHO BROUGHT YOU OUT OF EGYPT AND SLAVERY!
god starts out with the most important thing, believe in me! believe that there is a supreme being and creator of all things. without first adhering to this all the other commandments will be meaningless. he watches over everything, knows everything, foundation of our faith, trumps everything, defeats all false gods. I AM the one who brought you out and freed you. notice RIGHT HERE in the very beginning god lays out GRACE. he delivered them out of slavery and bondage before he spoke ONE WORD of command. now he is CALLING them into covenant with the LAW. the very first commandment proves that salvation and relationship with the heart of god comes FIRST! while we were sinners he loved us… YAAAAAASSSSSSS!
2…..YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS!
this is so simple. we shall have no thing or person on the throne of our hearts but god. we shall not worship or honor anyone or anything above god in our lives. not ourselves, not our jobs, not our families, not our spouse, not our sports, not money, not hobbies, our career, angels, stars, ancestors, NOTHING! nothin in heaven above or the earth below shall be worshipped or honored above god in our lives. do not make an image for the purpose of worship.. statues, crosses, saints, NOTHING, its important to remember that the children of israel made a golden calf to represent the god who rescued them and worshipped it. even though it was crafted to represent god it was an idol because man could not possibly fashion something with human hands to represent god. god desires relationship with us and does not want us to worship anything in our life that is not him, not even ourselves. you know our own lives can become an idol when what we want trumps god. why? because he is jealous for us, not petty envious jealousy but that of a husband jealous for the affections of his wife. IT IS LOVE and god desire wholehearted devotion and gives it in return.
3…..DO NOT TAKE THE LORDS NAME IN VAIN.
simple form do not take the lords name as an oath or swear by it. i swear by god that i did not… i swear to god i am not lying…i promise by god in heaven that i will do… this is a simple explanation. do not use god’s name in profanity or as expletive language. again a simple explanation. a deeper meaning of this is do not bear god’s name in vain by your conduct. . as sons and daughters we bear the name of god. we are his children and we represent our father, do not bear his name in vain. I’m a christian but nothing in my life proves that.. this is taking gods name in vain. we break the third commandment when we take on the lords name as his children but profane it with our lifestyle.
4…..REMEMBER THE SABBATH!
to remember the sabbath is to KEEP the sabbath. this is a command, not an option and the lord says remember/keep the sabbath. the one who keeps the sabbath does not allow his/her busy schedules to dictate whether or not they remember the sabbath. god’s appointment with his beloved for rest is not optional it is a command. we are told to keep it HOLY, SEPARATE, SET APART FOR GOD! we are to have clear boundaries that this day his centered and focused on god. isaiah 58:13 tells us that we should DELIGHT in the sabbath, HONOR the sabbath, rest from seeking out OWN PLEASURES, our OWN WAYS, and speaking our OWN WORDS. the sabbath is a gift given to us to STOP and remember that we are much more that DOERS we are humanBEINGS and god desires to be with us to spend a day of our week in communion with us.
5…..HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER!
this is the only command that states if you do this you will have long life. that’s important to pay attention to. god is concerned very much with family dynamics and highly values the parental role in our lives. notice the word DOES NOT say love your parents it commands us to HONOR them. the hebrew word for honor is related to “WEIGHT”. to honor your parents is to treat them with the proper weight due. to treat them with dignity, respect, and care. the scripture does not even say that they need to be worthy of honor it simply tells us that we are to HONOR them. we cannot walk in right relationship with god if we dishonor our parents or harbor contempt and disrespect for them. this takes discipline especially when you do not want to honor them. we do because the lover of our soul ask us to and he is always calling us into freedom. we cannot teach our kids respect for us. they learn respect and honor for their parents by the way we honor ours, by the way we honor each other, the way dad honors mom and mom honors dad. our children learn respect by the way we give it.
6…..YOU SHALL NOT MURDER!
pretty simple and straight forward right? there is a difference in MURDER and KILLING. scripture sanctions the taking of another life in the case of self-defense, in war, or in court when law has been broken that warrants death penalty. YES! the torah was for the death penalty. the lord DOES NOT tolerate murder. the taking of innocent life… ummmmmm ABORTION! there should be no question in our minds about this matter as believers. god DOES NOT tolerate the death of innocence. it is not our RIGHT to choose god has already declared with his OWN MOUTH you shall not murder. this is so important to god because every human carries the image of god and to casually take life is to casually snuff out the image of god. jesus steps in on the scene and takes it a bit further and says if you HATE your brother it is as if you have murdered them. WHAT THE WHAT? yep! anger, insult, hatred, humiliation of another person is a murderous heart and is where all actual murder stems from. in other words jesus was saying BOY/GIRL CHECK YO HEART! when we CHOOSE to remain bitter and store up hatred in our heart toward an individual we are breaking the 6th commandment and need to ask god to cleanse us and create in us a clean heart. a murderous heart does more damage to us than to the other person EVERY TIME with out fail. it is like taking poison and wishing the other person would die.
7…..YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY!
this is one of the ugliest and most devastating things that can happen to a marriage and god says do not do it. so important to the heart of god that it was punishable by death. this is one of those things that i'm like HOLD UP WAIT A STINKING MINUTE. why? because in the old testament a woman was considered an adulteress if she had sexual relations with ANY man outside of her husband BUT YES WAIT FOR IT a man was only considered an adulterer if he had sexual relations with another mans wife or betrothed. WHAT? yep! a man could whore himself out all over town and take wives and concubines as long as it was not another mans wife or fiancé. THIS is why jesus shook everything up. he came onto the scene and evened the playing field in the marriage. he said god said ONE MAN-ONE WOMAN period and anyone outside of that is an adulterer. marriage is fo life, fo ever, with one husband and one wife. jesus said you guys have mutual responsibility to one another…
R…E…S…P…E…C..T! then he went on to say don’t even do it in your thought because it is as if you have already done it in your actions. you see how it makes me laugh when people say jesus brought grace… jesus always took things deeper to why we do the things our thoughts and intentions. not just our outward but our entire being being called into holiness.
8…..YOU SHALL NOT STEAL!
bottom line you don’t take anything that belongs to another person. ultimately everything belongs to god so if you take someone else's stuff it is like you are taking it from god himself. this does not just apply to stuff this is also people (kidnapping) if it aint yours do not take it. from a baby to a pencil, do not take it.
9…..YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS!
do not lie about yo neighbor, yo enemy, yo family, yo kids, yo husband or wife. do not spread gossip or slander about another person. do not testify falsely about another person. life and death are in the tongue. do not speak death over another person. do not put things in motion that are hearsay. when you bear false witness against another person you bear false image against the image of god.
10…..YOU SHALL NOT COVET!
this commandment actually deals with the thoughts of our heart. god has always been after our hearts because from our heart flows our life. above all else guard your heart for from it flows the wellsprings of life. (psalms) do not occupy your mind or heart with schemes to get what belongs to others. to covet lies at the root of your own unhappiness and contentment. to covet is not to trust god that he provides all that we need and withholds no good thing from us. to covet is actually a complaint against god that he is NOT GOOD ENOUGH for us.
It is very interesting to me that there at MOUNT SINAI as God spoke His word from the fire in seventy different languages dividing into seventy sparks of fire going forth into the people. There is another time in scripture where God comes down in the form of the spirit, oddly enough as the apostles were celebrating this exact moment on mount sinai, and divided like fire and rested on people as they spoke out in many different tongues. I believe there is a pattern here and so much more to what God is doing than our traditional understanding of Acts chapter 2. On Mount Sinai the given of the Torah, or instructions, was given by Gods voice on tablets of stone. In Acts chapter 2, on Pentecost, the Torah or instruction once again was given this time by the voice of God written upon their hearts. That is why the apostles had NO PROBLEM with the LAW and the SPIRIT. They understood the connection of Sinai and the Upper room. The Torah, instructions, and the Spirit that gives us the grace to live them out. OH IT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING TO EMBRACE BOTH.
Another cool thing to me is that after this moment Moses no longer needed Aaron his brother to speak for him. His stuttering was gone and he began to speak to the people on behalf of God. When we encounter the presence of God, His power moves in and changes us. Even there on that mountain as the commands were being given the healing presence of God was moving and Moses stepped into the river and was healed. OH SNAP! Got me dancing over here again. God also goes on to repeat one of the commands again and this time making it very specific. Do not make any gods of silver or gold. Which is funny because the golden calf was about to be crafted in gold. I think God knew this and again was warning them DON’T DO IT! How many times does God warn us over and over again and we do it anyway. The heart of God is for us and will always break into our world to draw us out of those things that will bring harm. May we have ears to hear and feet quick to run. We cannot fashion God in our image or what we think He is like. He tells us exactly what He is like and when we try to make Him anything other than that we are making an idol. God is serious. He alone is God and we are to love Him alone with all that we are. He desires committed hearts, faithful hearts, voluntary love and will stop at nothing to HAVE HIS BRIDE!
“That explains it,” said Paul. “John preached a baptism of radical life-change so that people would be ready to receive the One coming after him, who turned out to be Jesus. If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus. And they were. As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God’s actions. “
YES! This is why I love Acts. John said I baptize in water for forgiveness of sin but there is one coming that will baptize in FIRE. The book of Acts is full of stories about men and women who were FILLED with the Holy Spirit. All through out the book the lives of people were guided by the Spirit. The apostles were sent out by the Spirit. Called into full time ministry by the Spirit. They were delivered from death circumstances by the Spirit. They had the strength and stamina to KEEP GOING because of the Spirit. The Spirit of God is our GOLDEN TICKET. We need it MORE than we know and should earnestly desire the FULLNESS of the Spirit. You have to remember that Acts is also a highlight reel of the lives of God’s people. There were many days of mundane faithfulness, waiting for the moment that the Spirit of God desired to manifest. These men and women were FAITHFUL in the waiting and OBEDIENT vessels in the breakthrough. Acts teaches us that God loves to move in and through His people. It also ask us the question ARE YOU WILLING TO BE USED? We all as sons and daughters of God have a golden ticket. May we be READY and EAGER to cash in our ticket DAILY and watch God do amazing things in and through our lives. BE FILLED TO OVERFLOWING that others may taste and see that the Lord is GOOD!