Today's entry will probably be short. This house is already awake and its church morning! That means..a race against the clock! :) Be sure to see the new Mount Sinai pictures posted at the bottom of this page! Also...I wrote an entry about how to leave a comment. Look on the right side of the page and click on the link about comments. I wrote instructions...you do not need a password! :)
Chapter 19 Seems like we are getting ready for a long list of "thou shall nots!" :) This chapter is about preparing to meet the Lord at the top of Mount Sinai. The Israelites all have 3 days to prepare themselves. They have been reminded that God loves them and will care for them. That is the context in which all of this comes out of. God tells the Israelites that he has carried them out of Egypt "on eagles wings." (v. 4) The footnotes state that "a mother eagle flies beneath her babies with her wings outstretched so she can rescue them if they begin to falter--a powerful image of our God!" Can't you just hear the song in your heart now... "and I will raise you up on Eagle's wings....." So all of the commandments that God is getting ready to give them is out of love....its not a long list of "don't do this....don't do that....because I'm mean and out to get you..." It's a list expectations and timeless standards! So, the Israelites know they are going to meet with the Lord. The are to wash their clothes, not have sex, be consecrated by Moses, and focus solely on the Lord. It's a big day when the Lord comes down the mountain. If we spend time getting ready for a big wedding, we'd better spend time getting ready to meet the Lord. The Lord even told Moses to tell the people not to go up the mountain.....he was to put limits around the mountain. If you touched even the mountain, you would die! God was serious!!!!!
Chapter 20 The Ten Commandments! Here we finally are! Have you ever noticed that the commandments are divided into 2 "categories" ....or even better.....2 ways for living? The first 4 commandments are solely about our relationship with God: 1) Do not worship other gods before me; 2) make no idols; 3) Do not take the Lord's name in vain; 4) you shall not break the Sabbath. These are all about how we are to live with the Lord....they're about our relationship with him. Then...the rest of the commandments (6 of them) are about our relationship with others: 5) honor your father and mother; 6) do not murder; 7) do not commit adultery; 8) do not steal; 9) do not give false testimony about your neighbor; 10) do not covet.
All of this in the context of God's unfailing love for his people! Not a "no-no" list but as a Father, how one would expect his children to live! Simple as that! ;)
Chapter 21 Seems as they are setting up a whole new society....and they are really. The Israelites are out of slavery in Egypt and haven't had freedom on their own. Here we have more laws that are set before the Israelites. If you've ever wondered what do if your bull hurts another bull-read this chapter. If you've ever wondered what to do if you dig a pit, and someone falls in it, the directions are here. If you've ever wondered about what to do when your gores a man...read this chapter. What it seems this is doing is setting up a justice system for themselves from God. They haven't traveled very far you know in this 40 year journey. but God knows the human heart...He knows that there must be laws protect human beings. This laws are to protect them against vengeance and retaliation. This is the chapter where it talks about "eye for an eye" "tooth for a tooth" "hand for a hand" "bull for a bull" ! This is to restrict inflicting more pain than what initially happened. We usually want to inflict more pain than we suffer, but these laws laid out here can put an end to violence. These were to be a safeguard against themselves.
Lessons learned: God loves you and cares for you and guides you along the way...just like a mother eagle does her babies. God wants you to prepare yourself to meet with Him...daily! Not just on Sundays! :) Remember the commandments: 1-4 relationship with God; 5-10 relationship with others! Give others the mercy and forgiveness you have been given. Don't go get their goat when they just owe you a bale of hay. Extend mercy to all!
Thy will be done.........