08.5 Moses 8, Day 5

Fear of God

For many years of my life I struggled with the concept of “fear of the Lord”.  Throughout the bible, especially in the old testament, people were called time and time again to not be afraid.  Yet, in the same breath, the fear of the Lord was encouraged.  How can you have fear but not be afraid.

Then, my dad became sick and was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I finally understood.  I wasn’t afraid of my dad because he could punish me.  I didn’t have fear of him doing something negative to me, not loving me, not providing for me or not showing me kindness and love.  What I saw that I feared was doing something with the rest of my life that would reflect negatively on this man that I loved and honored.  I feared not only letting him down with my actions, but even more so, doing something that negatively impacted the memory of him.  It wasn’t a shrink away fear, but a fear that encouraged me to be better, to do better, to grow and to honor him.

I think that is the meaning inside the two fears that Moses discusses with the Israelites.  We, like them, are chosen by God.  We are loved and need not fear God even though He is big and powerful and mighty.  But, out of love and honor and respect, we should live with the understanding and fear that our lives and our actions directly reflect on our Heavenly Father.  Every interaction we have as Christians is a portal for others to either grow closer to or farther away from God.

While our actions and thoughts and behaviors matter, God also provided for an equality among people.  In His instructions about the construction of the altar He set the stage against something that has been the downfall of many churches.  We and our churches have attempted to bring in art and beauty and architecture under the premise of showing honor to God.  This encourages a reliance and pandering to those with wealth to provide the funds for those items.  But God says that any tool we lay to His creation does not add to it, but subtracts from it.  He says our desire to put God and the altar to Him up on a pedestal does nothing to bring honor to Him, it just puts our private parts on display.

God is to be honored.  God is to be worshiped, but God doesn’t desire or even condone a towering edifice built by human hands “for His glory.”  He is perfectly content in the glory that His creation, (the planet, the solar system, the universe) paints.  God is not looking for us to honor Him by throwing money or art or architecture at Him.  What God wants and what we can do to bring glory to Him is to be present with Him.  By seeking to be in a relationship with God, we honor Him.  Whenever He causes His name to be honored, He comes to us and blesses us.  This is the heart of worship and it is the heart of our relationship with God.  Show up!  Commit yourself, not your money.  Build your relationship, not buildings.  Invest in time with Him, not time in other things so you have funds to contribute to things for Him.

I wish I could spend more time with my father.  But, while he is no longer on this earth, I can still honor him by investing time with the Heavenly Father that we both love and worship in ways that honor him and honor God.  Each moment I spend in prayer, each minute I spend studying His word, each conversation or class I lead that glorifies God the Father honors me and my father as well.  The loving relationship that father built in me lives on because it was built not on him or his strength or his life, but because it was built on God.  That love lives forever!

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
afraid: God is big and powerful but as his children we need not shrink from Him in fear of harm, Fear of God: God’s expectations of His children are high, nothing short of holiness, and we should fear falling short of those expectations

b.
first paralyzes and keeps someone away from God, second protects and buffers us from a nature or inclination to sin

c.
Fear of God – as my Father I fear every day that the way I am seen by others does not bring Him the honor and respect He deserves

11.
a.
Wherever God causes His name to be honored, He will come and bless those who worship Him – connection with God

b.
any gods alongside god, do not build altar with dressed stones, do not defile it with tools, do not go up stairs (flash people)

c.
Our worship of God is to be for the worship of God, not about showing off what we can do or how we look.  It is also not something to be done carelessly or in a way that might be a distraction to others

12.
so that is is not defiled by the use of a tool on it.  Do we attempt to improve on what God created in order to worship God.? Why would we think what God created is insufficient for His glory?

13.
Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. – this is the heart of worship: Communion with God

08.4 Moses 8, Day 4

Honor

BSF presents the last 6 commandments as applying to relationships with other people. But, I think it is more appropriate to divide them into sets of 3 and 3.  The first 4 commandments are about our relationship with God.  The next 3 are about our relationships with others and the last 3 are about our relationships involving stuff.  Again, I believe this shows the levels of priority and importance the commandments provide as additional guidance for our lives.  God first and foremost (4-most), others second, stuff last.  But how often do we turn that completely upside down.  Our laws tend to focus about stuff first, myself and my rights second and others next and God last (if at all).

The last three are simple to understand, but hard to live because our nature is so driven to stuff.  Don’t steal it, don’t lie and cheat to get it, and don’t covet it.  We get that, even though we don’t do it.

But, I think we are losing an understanding of what honor means.  We still use the term, but we often think of it as an archaic notion, something mature and sophisticated people have outgrown.  What does it mean to have honor much less to honor someone else?  It is not obedience, although being obedient is definitely a part of it.  The dictionary defines it as “being a source of credit or distinction.”  In that regard, we are to be something of value to our parents.  Something that makes them distinguished.  Something that is a credit to , as opposed to a deduction from, their standing.

In other words, if we honor our father and our mother, we live our life in a way that elevates them and their standing.  Instead of viewing them as the ones we rely on and take from, it is a practice of building them up and adding credit to them.  Is that how we live our lives?  Are we rising to that level of maturity or do we continue to live in reliance on the honor and credit our parents established?  When we speak of our parents is it in a way that gives them honor and respect?

If we don’t, not only are we sinning against our parents, but we are sinning against God’s commandment.  When we criticize, blame or speak negatively of our elders, particularly our parents, we reduce them and reduce ourselves.

The right thing, the thing God planned and commanded, is for each generation to grow.  It is for each generation to live as a credit to the prior.  It is a plan for each generation to provide for and give credit to the former.  It is a plan that is every increasing and reaching to God.  Is that the path we are on?

My Answers:

9.
20:12 – Honor father & mother, live long (and it may go well with you) in the land God has given you

20:13 – You shall not murder – (sin of omission) who am I allowing to be murdered by my inaction

20:14 – You shall not commit adultery – where do I have behaviors that do not honor my wife and family

20:15 – You shall not steal -what do I take that does not belong to me? What is the value of my integrity that I would sell it so cheap?

20:16 – You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor-Do I know my neighbors that I can give truthful testimony of them?

20:17 – you shall not covet your neighbors house, wife, servants, ox, donkey or anything that belongs to them – desire for stuff

08.3 Moses 8, Day 3

What legacy are you leaving?

As the autumn leaves fall outside reminding me of the changing seasons of life I’m reminded of my thoughts about what type of legacy am I leaving behind?  Many of us would like to believe that our time spent on this earth in some way makes a difference.  In particular we want it to have made a difference for our family.  We think about retirement planning.  We make wills and do estate planning.  We buy life insurance.  But that is all just “stuff.”

The commandments are way bigger than just a set of rules or laws.  They contain structure.  They contain order.  They contain promises.

The first 4 commandments don’t just happen to be about our relationship with God.  The first commandments are about our relationship with God because that relationship comes first.  That is the most important thing.

They are also a reminder that what we do matters.  We choose to obey or disobey.  Once a law is written down, your actions and behavior are either on one side of the law or the other.  There are no loopholes.  They is no gray area.  There isn’t an ability to be on one side but to appear to the judge that you are on the other side (especially since God is the judge and he sees and knows everything).

But in that realization that what we do matters, God has placed a promise – a really big promise.  In the second commandment, Exodus 20:4-6 He reveals part of His character to us.  He is a jealous God.  He doesn’t want part of our heart.  He wants it all.  He doesn’t deserve part of the honor and glory, He deserves it all.  When we deny Him that by allowing other gods to stand before or beside Him, when we bow down to those other “things”, it matters.  This isn’t a threat – no more than the law of gravity is a threat or the law of inertia is a threat.  If you ignore those laws, there are repercussions.  In the same way, if you ignore this law of God, there are repercussions, big repercussions, that transcend your own life and affect your children, their children and even their children.  God is in control, but we are making the choice.  We see this reality all around us.  The decision to reject and dishonor God by one generations affects multiple generations with pain and hardship.  The decision to chase after other gods is a tear that takes its toll on children and the way they raise their children.

But we also read, hear and see the promise to those who obey as well.  The punishment we bring on only lasts for 3 or 4 generations.  But, the legacy we can provide, the rock solid foundation that we can begin to build on, is a shower of love from God for 1000 generations.  I am blessed that my parents and grandparents built their lives on the rock of Christ Jesus.  That blessing, that love from God, is passed to my children and to their grandchildren on and on and on.  I am not perfect, my parents weren’t perfect, but God is perfect.  What legacy are you leaving through the choice you are making in response to the 2nd commandment?

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery

b.
By the mercy of god to reveal the depth of my sin and the inability for silver or gold or any act or possession I could bring to pay restitution for the brokeness of my choices.  But to then receive the assurance and confidence that the sacrifice that Jesus made of His life was fully and completely sufficient.

8.
20:3 – You shall have no other gods before me – Worship and trust in God first and God alone
20:4-6 – not make an image – not bow down to them or worship them – jealous, punish 3G/4G but show love to 1000G – legacy!
20:7 – not misuse name of the LORD your God – not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name – Only used for honor risk of guilt
20:8-11 – Remember  Sabbath day by keeping it holy – no work nor cause others to work, not just relax, but holy: God blessed this day

 

08.2 Moses 8, Day 2

That would change everything

One of the things I appreciate about BSF is the thought and prayer that goes into not only the daily lessons themselves, but the grouping of information or topics together.  Looking ahead to this week is a prime example.  Many of us would have placed the focus on the 10 commandments.  We tend to dive right into the details of the shalts and shalt nots in those verses.  But the commandments are not the main point.  They are daily application points to help us learn and keep us on the right path while also showing us that our own efforts, no matter how diligent, are always insufficient when compared to the standard of perfection.  But even that isn’t the main point – the aim.

The main point of our lesson this week is the covenant.  You are a treasured possession of God.  You are a priest in a kingdom of priests.  You are holy in a holy nation.  Even though we did not and do not obey God fully and keep His covenant, Jesus did and yet sacrificed His own life to pay the ransom to buy back ours.

Each week in our BSF lesson, some of the questions are personal or application directed questions.  Today we were asked “how have you responded.”  My adult son attends BSF and he has been bringing a young man with him who is here from another country which has been closed to the open teaching of the gospel.  As they sat by each other or rode together he noticed that this young man answered all the fact based questions and the other questions but left the application questions blank.  Finally, after a few weeks my son had the opportunity to ask him about this.  His reply was that he was learning and thinking about God and Jesus and trying to decide what to do.  But, he said, “if this is really true, well, then that would change everything.”

The covenant of God, both the old covenant to Abraham reconfirmed in Exodus and the new covenant through Jesus as we read in 1 Peter 2:9-10 does change everything.  Does our response reflect that fact?

My Answers:

3.
Deliverance doesn’t just mean set free, it means delivered, as a gift.  God delivered His people, with the care of a loving parent, to Himself

4.
a.
If you obey me fully and keep my covenant

b.
1. out of all nations you will be my treasured possession, 2. you will be for me a kingdom of priests, 3. a holy nation

c.
By declaring the praises of Him who called me out to darkness.  By teaching and spreading the message of the mercy He has shown me.

5.
By appearing in His mightiness (something He had been doing) and speaking to Moses in a voice the people could hear

6.
a.
God is holy, He is the King of kings.  he is to be approached with reverence and preparation and at the proper time and place.

b.
We have been delivered out of sin into His presence, justified through faith, brought back into peace through the grace that Jesus personified when He died and then defeated death to sit with God the Father in heaven