November 11, 2013

{Day 11} Saved and Called: "The Big Ten" (Part 2)

If you're just popping in on this November series, you can catch up here.

I'm thinkin' about those ten commandments I posted on Saturday morning.  Man, reading that list struck a chord in my heart.  How about you?

What an intense scene: thunder, lightning, a trumpet sound, and a smoking mountain!

The Lord's holy presence.

I wonder how many of you can recite the ten commandments, or at least most of them?  I'm sure you are familiar with them.  I learned a song in a church musical in elementary school that I sing to myself when I need to remember the order.  (Thanks, mom, those were fun days!)  All that to say, I am well acquainted with God's rules.

But I forget that they fit into a story of redemption and relationship.

A big part of staying the course in the holy life is remembering the story, God's story of redeeming people and living in relationship with them (individuals and the Body) ...

The story of God redeeming you and living in relationship with you.

I love, LOVE the first thing God says in Exodus 20.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

The rules and regulations were not presented to the people out of no where.  They had recently been rescued from bondage in Egypt; they were eating food in the desert that fell from God's hand from the sky; they'd seen water come out of a rock, and had victory in battle because of the Lord.  God was working on their behalf.  Yet when they encountered the presence of God in dramatic display on the top of the mountain, they trembled in fear.

Here's what I'm thinking about this passage.  They holy life is about more than benefiting from God's blessings and being thankful for them.  God saved us and called us to a holy life that we might encounter HIM.  His holiness makes mountaintops smoke.  His rules are beyond what we're capable of accomplishing on our own.  (Honestly, I can covet before I even know I'm doing it, and let's not get started on how many false gods my heart worships!)

After God spoke, Moses said to the trembling Israelites:

Do not be afraid.  God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.  Exodus 20:20

"Don't be afraid" but also "have the fear of God with you to keep you from sinning."  Huh?  Is that what you're getting from that verse, too?

[Pausing to think about it a moment.] 

Fascinating!  How excellent a description of the place in which we must dwell in relation to the Lord! Do not be afraid of Him, for it was He who approached us, called us out of slavery, and gave us a new place and purpose.  But fear Him, remembering His holiness and power, letting that drive you away from sin and toward righteousness.

God is God.  We can get to chummy and lazily rely on grace, forgetting that God is other than we are and that we're called to obey Him.  He is holy.  On the other hand, we can constantly live in fear that God is angry with us, forgetting that He initiated and sustains our relationship with Him.  He is kind.

So, the final thought to take with us from the ten commandments, dear Christian?

Don't be afraid of God, but fear Him.

Thank you, Moses, for your words so long ago.  I think we may have just found the ticket to staying balanced in pursuit of the holy life.

What do you think?  Anything you'd like to add (or take away!)?

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