Friday, November 12, 2010

OTC Day 54: Deuteronomy 8-10

You shall have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3, Deut. 5:7)

Everything that follows Deuteronomy chapter five begins to unpack each of the Ten Commandments in sequential order. First, Moses rephrases the first commandment from a negative into a positive: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (6:5). And, in proportion to its importance, Moses spends about six chapters detailing from Israel’s history and future what that command should—and should not—look like.

And the recurring theme from Moses is “Remember—do not forget.” The turn in every human heart from the Lord to other gods doesn’t begin in the hands or the feet, it begins in the heart and mind. And so Moses tells the Israelites, as we should tell each other, “Remember—do not forget”.

Remember how the Lord found you, saved you and led you out of your captivity to sin; how God demonstrated with miraculous finality his sovereignty over your slave-master; how the Lord made provision with a lamb so that his wrath might pass over you. Do not forget and return to your captivity to sin for we have died to sin and we are now slaves to God and righteousness.

Remember it is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you were chosen, saved and redeemed; it is not because because of your superiority to those unbelieving around you in any way; it is not by your works so you have nothing to boast about. Do not forget and so become proud as if you were saved by anything of your own hands.

Remember that you have, at one time, provoked God to anger by turning away from him and to other sources of comfort, security, identity and status; that you have seen firsthand how other gods are just a shiny covering for slavery to your old master; that you have reaped only bitterness in turning to worship any other created thing over the Creator. Do not forget the grace of discipline by the Lord towards his wayward children; the mercy of his correction is better than the very best the other gods had to offer.

Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God. — Deuteronomy 10:20,21a

1. What sort of “other gods” do people worship today? What sorts of “other gods” are Christians tempted to worship?

2. One pastor has said, “When a good thing becomes a god thing, it’s a bad thing”. What do you think he means? How does that happen?

3. Do you think the Israelites liked this sort of “walk down memory lane”? When’s the last time you took time to really remember where God has brought you from? How did you feel/respond?

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