Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Drop your idols and follow the one true God" Deut 5

" Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them!". (Deut 5:1)
Thought to be Canaanite Pagan Shrine, Gezer National Park Israel
In one of my classes my professor posed a very simple question, "What is idolatry". We all answered with great confidence, "Worshipping as God, an image we make with our own hands". How about an image we make with our own minds, is this still idolatry? We all knew the answer to be Yes.

So he rephrased and said, "So when we make God in our own image then this is adolatry". We were all silent for a moment to think it through and savor the fullness of its implication.

To prevent Israel from worshipping as God, an image which they create not only with their hands but with their minds, Moses reminds them of who God is. In Deuteronomy 5, Moses before his death, made a "farewell" speech to Israel. Reminding them of the relationship they have with God and the laws God had given to them for their obedience and their welfare.
Thought to be Canaanite Pagan Shrine, Gezer National Park Israel
All God's laws speak to His character and His expectation for the objects of his affection, in this case Israel. For example the chapter recounts a second time the 10 Commandments…

You may have only one God...You cannot worship anything or any one apart from God—speaks to God's control over the earth and all that is good and true. It tells us that, like a father, God knows what is best for us and because of his love for us, He desires us to commit to Him alone, because He knows we were created to be satisfied only by Him (Gen 2:26-27).

God still has this expectation for us today, He desires us to understand that He is the only creator of heaven and earth (Gen 1:1), that He loves us (John 3:16), that He desires to have a personal relationship with us (Rom 5:8). He understands that this relationship can only be achieved by His ways and through following His rules (Jer 29:11). He wants to live with us forever and so he directs us to believe in Jesus Christ, our only provision for eternal life (John 6:40).

However if we decide to make God in our own image, we violate the very essence of our existence and we jeopardize our relationship with God. If we decide to worship the kind of God we want to have, we create our own idol. 

Some have created a God who is angry all the time and wants to punish us…that is an idol which needs to be dropped. Some only want to worship a God who is all loving but who never will judge with justice or discipline them…this too is an idol needing to be dropped. God has revealed Himself to be both love and just or righteous, so we have to worship Him as both.
God proclaims Himself to be a good of love and compassion as well as a God of justice, as is written in Exo 34:6-7
The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,
“Yahweh! The Lord!
    The God of compassion and mercy!
 I am slow to anger
 and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
 I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
    I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” 
Some say their own God can be appeased by obeying all the rules…while others worship a God who can be found through positive energy and connection with their inner self...this too is Idol worship (Rom 1:21-31)others worship a God that never sends anyone to hell. This kind of God does not exist, He is not the God of creation neither is He the God of Israel (1 John 5:11-13). 
Thought to be Canaanite Pagan Shrine, Gezer National Park Israel
So Moses reminds Israel about God's laws in His farewell message so that, Israel may worship God according to who He is and not who they want Him to be. That is why he said to the people, 

“You must be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, following his instructions in every detail. Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy".

This message which Moses reminds Israel of in our text today, looks like the same message John reminds believers during his time which translates and applies to us today. He says,

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life,and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life"—1 John 5:11-13

So may we be reminded today like Israel was reminded then, that God's laws, God's path, is the only true way, and out of this way comes blessing. 

May we be comforted knowing that we do not have to create our own path, we do not need to create our own God in our image—or the image of our own ideas or philosophies. We have a God who created us and He has revealed Himself in His word and through creation (Rom1:19-20). He reveals Himself to be good, He is perfect and He loves us tremendously, that is why He desires to give us the best life, which comes only by following Him (John 14:26-27), now this is true comfort for the soul.
Until next time, Read, Share and Be comforted.
Merry Christmas to you my Comfortnotes Readers! Stay tune for a Christmas message coming soon.

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