Elul Day 4
The Ten Commandments are the moral code for both Christians and Jews--part of our shared heritage. They unite us. You could look at these much like “house rules.” Think of them as God saying, “If you want to be a part of this family, here are my rules for living in this family.” Think of the times you broke your families’ house rules...you had some ‘splainin’ to do! You probably got a timeout or some form of discipline and if you wanted to continue to live there you eventually complied with your parent’s authority. Reasonable rules bring order, stability and emotional safety to situations. Hopefully they are put into place by people who are older and wiser.
God wants His children to be safe and live in harmony with Him and “the family.” These 10 instructions for life can be broken down into two distinct categories. The first four outline our relationship with God Himself and the last six focus on our relationships with our “neighbor.” The fifth commandment to honor your parents distinctly bridges the two together. Let us use these as our plumbline over the next several days to measure where we may be missing the mark.
Self-examination requires that we be as honest with ourselves as possible. As humans we have the tendency to see our ideal self rather than what our actual thoughts, words and actions say. There can be a great disparity. So, as we analyze our thoughts, words and actions, try to think of concrete repetitive examples over the last year to support your view of yourself. Ask God to point out things as you walk out this month that prove or disprove your view of yourself. Some of you are too hard on yourself and constantly think you don’t measure up and that you will never measure up. Some of you think too highly of yourselves and you need a reality check. Some of you are easy on yourself and tough on those around you--this too leads to disharmony. The truth is God doesn’t really care where you start or where you finish as long as you are actively seeking to please Him. This is growth and this is what He desires. That you grow closer to Him each day. That is what really matters.
Did you know that the Jews and Gentiles don’t agree on the first commandment? How can that be, you ask? After all it is black and white--written in ink for all to see! Let’s examine this more closely. There are 13 sentences included in the Jewish rendition and 17 in the Christian. There are actually 13 “rules” or “instructions” and so the question is how do we divide those out. Someone came along and made an executive decision on how they should be broken down and grouped. Let’s take a look at the first instruction.
Jewish version: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” So here we saw God establishing His authority and the reason for us to be obedient to Him. Some Christians add the phrase, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Other groups of Christ followers group verses 2-6 together. Will we ever agree on anything this side of heaven??! ; ) We will use the middle method.
Let’s break this down. First , do you acknowledge and appreciate that your life has been set free from the law of sin and death by God? He has delivered you from your “Egypt”--your composite of sin patterns and set you free so that you can serve Him and Him alone? You contributed nothing to the deliverance...only agreement that you would accept it. God did the rest. Are you still thinking you can deliver yourself? Are you thankful for being rescued and continually being rescued from sin patterns today and everyday? How does your life exhibit your gratefulness? Are you verbally telling others how blessed you are? Are you resting in God to fight your battles or are you trying to solve your problems on your own?
Idols. Culture. Being tempted to rely on things rather than God. I believe that our greatest choice is between God and money. How we view money...how we use money...is CRITICAL. God’s Word says there are two choices, God or mammon. Money is temporary--fleeting. It is a means to an end. But, for some, it can become our major pursuit. It becomes an unbalanced focus of time and energy (that greatly exceeds their time and energy spent on knowing God). We don’t even ask God how He wants us to use it and on what things. Our culture drives us to want more and more until we can become consumed. Maybe we don’t even realize the importance/security that we find in money rather than God until it is taken away. The stock market recession put a scare in many people to horde money just like the depression did in our grandparents days. We must fight the tendency to idolize what God has given us to steward. We might mistakenly think that we provide for ourselves and our families rather than recognizing that God has declared Himself our provider. Could this be you?
Examine who is in charge. In charge of delivering you from sin. You or God? In charge of providing for your family. You or God? Examine your thankfulness in both areas. Are you patting yourself on the back for all your hard work? Or giving God the glory? How many hours do you put in each week making and managing your money to the exclusion of your relationship with God and others. Do you give God the credit for your health to work? For your guidance to further your career? For the many blessings that you have that money cannot buy?
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” --God (Matthew 6:21 KJV)
“For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.’--God (TPT)
Who is in charge of your life? And where is your greatest treasure?
Follow the season of Teshuvah during this Month of Elul with Guest blogger Denise Dee Lytle Gibbs who originally posted these blogs on her Facebook page Fall Feast Prayer Initiative.