pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


4 Comments

Deep Personal Relationship

Reading: Exodus 20: 1-11

Verse One: “I am the Lord your God”.

The Ten Commandments are all about relationship. Initial glances may lead us to think they are about behavior. They are only to the degree that our behaviors influence our relationships. Today’s passage covers the first four commandments. These four deal with our relationship with God. They also reveal much about who God is and what God desires from us.

Our passage opens with a reminder: “I am the Lord your God”. This is a fact. It conveys authority. The first commandment flows out of this place: no other gods before God. God is to be the one thing we worship, the one we look to for all we need, the one who provides and guides. This exclusivity leads into the second commandment: no idols. Initially we think of little statues carved from wood or stone. But this commandment is so much bigger than that. In this way it ties back into the first. We can have many other gods in our lives. God knew this would be a struggle. Our biggest idol is often self. Most of our other idols in some way elevate our own wants and desires above God’s will for our life. In addition to self, our other gods can be power, possessions, control, pride, time, … and these can quickly become idols – things we worship or pursue or place ahead of our one true God.

The third commandment prohibits the misuse of God’s name. With this commandment we typically think of cursing. It is this but it is more. It can be using God’s name to try and help ourselves. It can be selfish prayers. Misuse can also be failure to use. Sometimes we fail to turn to God when we should. Sometimes we do not come to God in prayer, calling on His Almighty name. In this light, the third leads to the fourth.

The fourth commandment is to keep the Sabbath holy. God calls us to mirror what He did in creating the world. God knows our need for rest and to have a day set aside to worship God. All of this is good and well, but this commandment ultimately asks if we trust God. Can we stop the drive to succeed, the need to work, the want for “me time”, and such to simply rest and trust in God? Can we rest in Him, trusting that God has our back?

“I am the Lord your God”. He is indeed. He desires an exclusive, intimate relationship with each of us. May all we do and say and think this day reflect our deep personal relationship with God.


1 Comment

His Kingdom

Reading: 1 Kings 21: 1-21a

Today’s story is an illustration of the abuse of power.  The King is refused some land he desires and the reason is based on faith.  The Queen is not a person of faith, but she knows the Law well enough to use it to her advantage.  She manipulates people into killing the land owner so the the King gets the land.  In the end, those in power got what they wanted and the one who was faithful to God was murdered.  The ones who were manipulated probably knew they were being manipulated but dutifully followed orders instead of speaking truth.

Unfortunately, this is not a one-time occurrence.  The abuse of power continues to this day.  In the Bible and throughout history we see examples of people abusing power and systems to get what they want.  Perhaps one of the best illustrations of this is the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).  Similarly, the religious authorities of Jesus; day manipulate the systems and secular leaders to to preserve their own positions and power by crucifying Jesus.

Stories of misusing or abusing power to attain personal goals or desires continues to this day.  People are, by nature, seekers of power and authority and are often willing to go to great lengths to get more or to desperately hold onto what they have.  This can happen on the national or local level, in the secular world and in our churches.

God is the God of love, justice, and equality.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to uphold these traits of God.  We need to be aware of how and why such abuses occur in our world and we need to be willing to stand up for the oppressed, suffering, and marginalized.  As we seek to build His kingdom here on earth and to make new disciples of the lost, may the courage of the Holy Spirit guide us as we seek to bring His light and love to all people everywhere.