Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday's Word...TEN: The Rules (Part 1 of 5)

This week I will begin a 5 part series called "TEN," a fresh look at the Ten Commandments. I taught this to a group of adults on Sunday nights a while back, but thought it might be good to shake the dust off of it and share it with you all here. Feel free to engage in the comments at the bottom of the page. 


Every religion has rules. Many of them very similar to Christianity. The main idea for most religions is that there's a "good God" and there are "bad people." As Christians we often translate this into the assumption that we've got to get more “good,” that we've got to act better in order for God to accept and love us or to get into His good graces.

Where do we get this idea? For me most part, it comes from the story of the Ten Commandments, or our understanding of it. 

The idea that God loves us and accepts us based on our behavior didn't come from God at all. God's message is just the opposite. 

God's rules reveal what's important to Him. Prior to the Ten Commandments being given, God had (after 400 years of silence and His people being in slavery in Egypt) led His people out of Egypt under Moses' leadership. 

See, a lot of us may think we know the history of the Ten Commandments already. But we come in halfway through the story. All we see is this big, powerful God ordering some things from a ragtag group of people who don’t know any better than to obey His demands. But that isn’t the whole story. And if we aren’t careful, we’ll miss the bigger story—we’ll miss the greatest message you or I could ever hear. We know from looking back at what happened in Egypt that by the time God gave the commandments, a relationship between Israel and God had already been set into  place. God had already acted on Israel’s behalf. If we miss this, we miss the whole point.
God acted first. God moved first. God proved Himself first. Before the rules, before the requirements, before God asked anything of Israel, God made His character known. He made His love known. He made the relationship known.

This is how the Ten Commandments start:

  “I am the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:1 NIV).

Rules are never the starting point for a relationship with your heavenly Father. The number one thing for God was simply, “Will you trust Me? I have shown you my power. I have showed my concern for you. Will you trust me?" The rules are simply a confirmation of the relationship that already existed. 

God has invited you into a relationship based on nothing you do but on something He’s done. He has delivered you through the blood of His Son. God is not a God who operates through guilt manipulation. God has already made it clear that more than anything, a relationship matters, and His rules are simply a confirmation of that relationship. 

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