36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
This morning I decided to start going through the 10 commandments and how they apply to us today.
There is much discussion about how much of the old testament does not apply to us today. When Christ died He fulfilled the law. To many, that suddenly means to them that these laws do not apply.
In the above passage Jesus tells this man which are the GREATEST commandments. If you could follow the above perfectly, you would be following the 10 commandments perfectly as well. I'll go into more detail on that as I look at each commandment.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
This week I want to start with the first two commandments since you can use many comparisons for both of them. In both of these, God is a jealous God. He doesn't want us to worship any other gods and He also doesn't want us making any idols.
In biblical times gods and idols were two different things. Idols are nothing more than figures no matter what the figure is of. In biblical times people created idols of all sorts of things. Some were figures that represented various gods they worshiped, others could be just about anything. When Moses was up talking to God about these very laws, the people of Israel decided to make an idol that was a golden calf. They looked to this golden calf for guidance.
Wow, sounds silly doesn't it? Well today, most of us do not have such images laying around that we look to. Looking at today many illustrations I can use for either the word "god" or "idol" would be quite similar.
But I will mention that there are those that still have images. People have statues and paintings of angels(not that we have any idea what they really look like). Some Catholics have statues of mary. Even Christians have images of crosses and fish and even of Jesus himself. Is that a problem? Well, it depends on how you look at the verses above and also, what you do with such images.
I'd like to point out the exact wording above as quoted from the King James Bible.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee ANY graven image, or ANY likeness of ANY THING that is in HEAVEN above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
I personally would venture to say that would include such things as angels.
Of course, most of the "images" we see today are nothing more than art. Certainly they are not idols. For the most part, that's probably true. But in keeping such images around there is the chance, however so slight, that one could end up turning to that image as if it were a representation of God or something. The object is nothing more than an object no matter what it is an image of. God dwells in each of us FAR more than He does in any image we could ever create no matter what it was an image of. Think on that a moment.
Now the word "god" in the bible spoke of imaginary beings that people actually worshiped. There are many religions today that worship false gods, but what about Christians... This to me is where the words "god" and "idol" are interchangeable.
To the point, God is jealous and we are not to worship ANYTHING besides Him.
But, quite often we do worship other things. One of the first things that might come to mind is money. There's also power. All sorts of things that people worship in one way or another. All sorts of things that get in the way of our love for God.
What I'd like to talk about today is people worship. We have a very popular tv show that spells it out clearly. "American Idol".
I was disappointed the very first time I even heard the name of that show. The people that end up in the finals are indeed quite talented people. But, they are not worthy of worship. They are not worthy of praise.
I'll mention a few random names that stick out in my head...
The Beatles... Michael Jackson... Muhammad Ali... Mel Gibson... Michael Jordon... Oprah Winfrey...
All of these people are just people. They are talented in one way or another but they are still just people.
But they have been worshiped. People faint, people cry, people fall in love with, etc... They totally IDOLize them. Lots of people focus more on these mere humans than they do on God. Yes, even us Christians are guilty of that.
I don't quite understand why people worship other people in such a way. All of these humans are the same as any of us. They may me more talented, but they are no better. In fact, many famous people lead horrible lives. Many of them do drugs, are arrogant and full of pride, are bitter and angry, I could go on. So many of these "idols" find themselves doing horrible things and they are still worshiped.
God is a jealous God. He is the ONLY one worthy of our praise. We shall have NO other gods before Him, and this includes humans.
To close I want to go back to the passage I started out with. And today because we are focusing on God alone we'll stick with the first part of it.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
If we could seriously love God with ALL our heart, and ALL our soul, and ALL our mind we would have no room left for worshiping other "gods".
During the coming weeks I will write more on how, if we could simply follow that passage perfectly... if we could truly love God with ALL our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves... if we could do all of that completely and perfectly, then we'd be able to live up to all of the 10 commandments.
I just had another thought. I can reverse that and say that the 10 commandments, those guidelines, show us some pretty important ways for us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. If we want to do that, if we want to live up to that greatest commandment, we might look at the ways in which we can actually do that. And it all starts with God. Love Him and put NOTHING before Him.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day and all of the blessings you have given me. Lord I pray that you would show me how I can love you better. I also pray forgiveness for any areas where I fall short in this. Please draw into the light any ways in which I am not loving you with my WHOLE heart, soul, and mind. Help me to put all other gods behind me as I seek to follow you.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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