So earlier this week I was researching some Old Testament stories, as you do when you work for the church. Actually, I was working on writing a lesson for a Sunday School class over a reading from the book of Exodus. Always a fun exciting book to read. You have pillars of fire, the parting of the Red Sea, plagues; I mean it is almost like a Biblical action movie! When I reached the part about Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, there just seemed to be something about the commentary that really stuck out to me. Something we all know by heart or have heard at least a million times…
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
At first you may just think, oh ok, makes sense…
At some point you may have had the thought or heard the argument, “Wow, that’s a little intense. Jealous much?”
Well, what if you put a whole new spin on this commandment and apply it to how you live your everyday life, not just with who you pray to, but with how you act and handle situations.
So before I go on and begin really breaking down this commandment, let’s review it basic principle. At the time, the Israelites were surrounded by people who were polytheistic. Look at the Egyptians themselves. Guess how many gods the ancient Egyptians have? I am not sure, but I am just going to go ahead and assume you guessed too low. 8700….yes….nearly 9,000 different gods. As God’s chosen people, the Israelites were not allowed to worship multiple gods but were called to only worship the one true God, Yahweh.
Well, not that we have covered this, I want to cover a new way of understanding this or should I say to think about this.
So this may come as a surprise to many of you…but there have been times in my life where I have been very angry…and broken things.
I think every single male who is reading this has had their moment of pure frustration at a videogame and the only logical thing to do is to throw the controller…
“WHY DIDN’T I JUMP!? I HIT THE JUMP BUTTON! Stupid controller is broken…”
Well, after you throw it across the room…now it probably is really broken.
It’s just the way it works…when you respond poorly when you are angry, typically something goes wrong. My personal favorite was when my cell phone broke my computer screen. Talk about a very expensive temper tantrum.
Do you have one of those moments?
Do you have it in your mind?
Depending on how long ago it was you either may be getting angry about it or laughing at it.
But think about that one moment and ask yourself…Is that really you?
Are you being true to yourself?
In Mark chapter 5, we meet a man who possessed of devils. When the man is asked for his name, “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
If you look at the definition for legion you will find that the most common ones all refer to the military. But legion also means any great number of persons or things: a multitude.
When we find ourselves responding in anger to the point that we don’t recognize ourselves, are we truly being ourselves? Or are we allowing our demons to rise up and control us. We can not always depend on ourselves when we are not in the right mind set. When we allow our demons to control us we are not acting as a worshipper of God.
To worship one God means so much more. It is more than going to church to pray to God. It is more than claiming that you are a Christian.
Being a Christian is about the walking…not the talking.
It is easy to say that you are a Christian. It is easy to claim God as the one true God. Yahweh.
It is another to fully embrace it and to live it.
Now, if any of you are out there reading this and thinking that it’s a tall order. That it is not easy and very difficult. Well you are not alone.
One of the hardest things I have found is to not just claim that I am a Christian…but to truly live it. I want to live it right. I want to walk the walk. I want to come face to face with Christ and say, “My name is Matthew. A follower of Christ.” I don’t want to be Legion. I can be many but I follow the One. Not I am many. I want do not want to have any other god.
Now as many of you know, just because you want something, doesn’t mean that is the way it is going to be.
But it’s a start. And I am going to try.