Hello Church Devotion Sept. 03, 2013

“C” is for “Commandments"

It starts early on doesn't it? This disdain for following what others want us to do... You can picture the child in the store hearing her parents say, no... you cannot do that. And the child's belligerent answer, "Yes, I can".

If we were really truthful about our feelings about the demands that others place upon us, we would say that we do not like being told what to do. We don't want to be told what to eat, what to wear, and certainly not what to believe. Yet, this is exactly the way the world works, or sometimes doesn't work when it breaks down.

Imagine what the world would be like if stopping at a red light was just optional. All the many accidents that would occur because people didn't want to do what they were taught to do. Imagine also that people didn't have to show up and work, but that was optional too. Imagine if we were sick and went to the emergency room for help. What if the health care providers either weren't there or decided for some reason that they just didn't like how you looked, and therefore were not going to assist you. These are just a few examples of how things would be if we didn't have commandments and laws to guide our everyday lives.

God in His mercy, rescued His people from slavery in Egypt by freeing them through the Red Sea. In order to define what God's will was for His people, He provided Moses with 10 Commandments written on stone tablets by the finger of God.

These Commandments were to help define the way that God's people were to live. When they lived this way, they would be different than the people of the world around them, for God was showing forth in them, His perfect law and will. You can find them listed for you in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Yet, even though God's Law and Word are perfect and very clear to our behavior and action in light of God's mercy and rescue, we are not able to keep it. We like the little child, do what we want to do rather than keep the Law of God.

If we were to examine ourselves, I think we would have to admit that we have a strong rebellious streak within us that causes us to immediately act against God's perfect Law. Yet, that Law is perfect and good, but we cannot keep it. Therefore, it convicts us of our sinfulness and our imperfections.

Enter God again, to rescue us by sending His Son, who obediently kept the Law perfectly. He perfectly was the fulfillment of the Law's demands. Therefore, He is able to make the sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

God's Word is always good, perfect, and holy. If you read Psalm 119, you find the longest book of the Bible as a hymn of praise for God's Law. You will find precept, law, commandment, ordinance, torah, and many other words used to describe God's perfect design for our lives.

Yes, even though we know the Bible is full of God's good and perfect way for our lives, we want to sample it first, and then decide if it is worth keeping. Isn't that rather arrogant? That those God created (You and me) would choose whether or not that what the Creator says is okay for us.

Just a quick look through the 10 Commandments shows us that the things God sees as important are also important to us. (Who He is, His name, His Word) (Those in authority, Life, Marriage, Treasures, Integrity, neighbors and their things).

As we ponder God's law and will for our lives, let us do so in light of what God did for us in the cross of Jesus. God wants us to know Him and His love for us. He also wants us to get along with those around us in a closer and more integrity driven way than how the world defines it. God's Law does not save us. However, it is still good and valuable to us as Christians. That Law guides us in our everyday lives and shows us what is precious to God. May we take serious the Word that God has given and put it to work in our lives as a teacher of righteousness and right living. By so doing, we are following in the love of Christ.

1. What Commandments are about our relationship with God?

2. What Commandments are about our relationship with our neighbor?

3. Many times, Lutherans are tempted to think that God's Law has no place in our lives. Why is that not correct and why?

4. While our first reaction is to break the Law, how does God provide His strength to help us live the way He has designed for us to be?

5. How is our love of God shown in the keeping of His Commandments?

Prayer: Lord, Your word is so good. So very good and perfect. Lord, structure me and gird me by the use of Your Law that I may know Your ways and Your will in my life. Lord, You alone provided me with salvation and faith, now help me to follow You. Strengthen me by meditating on your precepts and commands all the day long. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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