"O how I love your law. I meditate on it day and night. You have made me wiser than my enemies because I obey your commandments. They are ever with me." Ps. 119
I read this morning from Deuteronomy 5 and reconnected with the Mosaic covenant in a fresh way. Covenants were not new. Adam, Noah, and Abraham each interacted with YWH on the basis of promises He Himself would keep, even when His servants failed Him. And we humans are spectacularly capable of such covenant breaking as would split in two a heart of stone. Here He is, seemingly wasting His time revealing expectations (to use the language of modern education) no human can ever fulfill apart from Christ.
Yet in the Savior, by the fire power of His Spirit, these lovely laws reveal a life of freedom and joy we are destined to inherit. My friend once said, "I think of these as the 10 promises, because now, in Jesus', I am able to fulfill them."
I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit...in Christ's power.
So, here are a few thoughts I had as I read through the list this morning.
1) "I am the Lord your God...do not worship any other gods besides me." Our worship- what we love, fear, trust in- is reserved only for Him. Life is not about me.
2) "Do not make any idols..." Do I have any images of what life should look like that I pattern my life after? Do I use a substance, experience or pleasure to fill the empty place in my soul that only He can fill? Do I live to please myself, my peers, or my Jesus?
3) "Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God." Do I, though I am Christ's own beloved, bear another man's child-the offspring of my dependence on human ways? Do I claim to be joined to Jesus, yet continue to lead my own life? Called by His name, Child of God, do I exhibit His character; love what He loves?
4) "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy..." Do I make a habit of setting aside time apart from my routine of working for a living, to rest in the fact that no matter how hard I work, it is God who provides for me?
5) "Honor your father and mother...then you will live a long, full life..." Am I aware of the value of loving parents who have done their best to give me roots and wings? Do I treasure them? Are there people who have stood in the place of absent or abusive parents? Do I thank them; thank God for them?
6) "Do not murder." Do I take the law into my own heart and hands by hating another human being? Do I recognize that life and favor is God's alone to give and to take away?
7) "Do not commit adultery." Am I faithful to my spouse? to my future spouse? Do I betray the one who knows and loves me best in thought, word or deed?
8) "Do not steal." Do I respect anothers' right to have and to enjoy what God provides for them Don't be willing to grasp it from them and wrestle it away for myself? Do I steal anothers' praise, honor or respect?
9) "Do not testify falsely against your neighbor." Do I tell the truth whether it gets me what I want or costs you all you have.
10) "Do not covet your neighbor's wife...house...land...servant...ox or donkey..." Be content. Don't long for someone else's blessings no matter what they are.
Mark 14 promted this poetic rainstorm as I reflected on the disillusionment; the darkness and confusion ahead of the disciples through the trial, bloody beating, and death Jesus prepared them for. No rose colored glasses. Laser clarity both of their human weakness and His triumph over both the grave and their dismal failure. "You will all desert me, but afterward..." What is the crisis that undoes everything? What is the melting of all known reality into a muddy puddle of gloom from which there is no way forward? He knows all about it and has a "but afterward..." where He will meet me and rebuild my life.
a tearing down
all is laid bare
and no human effort
can be launched to
counteract the truth
of our utter helplessness
is the birth canal to
new life emerges
fresh from heaven