It is 4:30 AM, that is morning time in case you were wondering. Its dark outside, despite the Narnia like lamps that line the sidewalks outside my dorm that illuminated my room night after night for the past two years. I cannot sleep. I went to Two Four tonight. For those of you who aren’t in the Wake County area, it is a college worship event that takes place every Wednesday night at 8:30. I’ve been twice now, and plan on continuing to go. The preaching has been awesome, and the music directs our hearts to worship our magnificent creator.
Tonight the college pastor preached out of Exodus 20, as he did last week, and will continue to do so. He is preaching through the Ten Commandments. It isn’t as Sunday school as you would think. Tonight he preached on commandments #’s 2 and 3. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Number Two “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
God says to Moses and all of us I am the LORD your God. I am the one who delivered you. Therefore, do not make anythings with your hands to worship. Do not try to worship anything I’ve created, and do not try to fashion with your hands something that is supposed to be me. He is the I AM. He was, and is, and forever will be. Nothing fashioned by the hands of men can even come close to being a true reflection of who He is.
He is the one who delivered the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Yet they bowed down before a calf, the work of their hands. I am reminded of a quote by one of my personal heroes, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, when he said:
“How happy art thou, my soul, to be led beside such still waters! never wander to other streams, lest thou hear the Lord’s rebuke, “What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink of the muddy river?”’
How many times have I ever gone to the ways of sin and death to drink from the muddy rivers of the Nile, knowing that my God has ransomed me through his son Christ Jesus and sat me beside still waters because he is my shepherd king and he loves me as a one of the sheep of his fold. O’ that God would lead me to repentance and keep me away from those muddy waters of sin and death. May my affections forever be upon my creator rather than the work of the hands of men. If I sin, I commit cosmic treason, I play the part of the whore before the LORD. This is not a beautiful thing. What is beautiful is that my God grants me repentance, and that Jesus in his righteousness is interceding on my behalf this Wednesday morning at 4:43AM with his perfect blood that I might have life, it to the full, and that the thief may not come to steal, kill, and destroy.
He says I, the LORD your God am a jealous God. God tells us that He is our God, but he is a a jealous God. He is the only one who is deserving of worship.
It is why the psalmist tells us to “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.”
God is big! God is mighty! – These the words I wrote in my bible at the heading of Psalm 33. I find them repeating over and over in my head over the past three weeks. I’m learning more and more about my being finite, and his being infinite. My creator God, created me for worship. When I begin to worship the created, and put my hope in the things seen, I recall who he is. I fall into his loving arms of salvation.
Commandment #3 hits me hard when I think about the fact that as a follower of Christ. I have his name attached to mine. When I live a life filled with sin, I defile the name of the Lord. “Be holy for I am holy, declares the Lord.” So I find myself repentant before God tonight. Praying that he would transform me more to his likeness.
I posted part of Isaiah 42 earlier, just the scriptures. It is where I find so much comfort and hope this morning. You see God isn’t just a whipping God, always to be blamed for pain, and never to be praised. If you don’t know the story of the Ten Commandments, here is the story abridged. Moses gets them when he goes up on the mountain to meet God. He comes down and sees that the nation of Israel has made for themselves a golden calf, and they are worshiping it. They say it is the God of this calf who delivered them out of slavery. Moses gets so angry that he throws down the tablets the law is written on, and they break. Moses later gets a new set of tablets and God tells Moses this:
The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving the iniquity and transgressions and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”
the Moses does this:
“And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
Then God renews his covenant with his people, and promises them their inheritance. God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in unfailing love and faithfulness. Keeping his unfailing love for thousands and forgiving sins for those who come to him with repentant hearts.
Isaiah 42 speaks of God’s chosen servant, that is Christ Jesus:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights. I have put my Spirit upon him: he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.(emphasis mine)
Amen, O what a delight it is to know that he will not break a bruised reed as myself, or quench a faintly burning wick.