under a special agreement with
presents "Light from the Old Testament"
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Lesson 5 (Part 3)
Before giving the Ten Commandments to His people, God appealed to them in a very tender way. Moses went up on Mount Sinai and God spoke to him, saying,
"You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself." Exodus 19:4
God had destroyed their enemies. He had brought them out of slavery in Egypt. He had "borne them on eagles' wings" and brought them to Himself. God speaks of it as "the day that I took them by the hand." (Jeremiah 31:32)
Another scripture says,
"When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt…I taught Ephraim also to go [walk], taking them by their arms." Hosea 11:1-3
God carried His people as a baby is carried. He then held them up by their arms as they were learning to walk. When they stumbled, He was patient and gracious, teaching them to take every step in dependence on Him.
This is how God has dealt and is dealing with every one of us. He has set His love upon us, and His hands are under our arms to hold us up as He teaches us to take one step after another in confidence in Him. The Bible says, "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..." (Deuteronomy 33:27)
The first requirement in a people for God's own possession is that they obey Him. God said,
"Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar [special] treasure unto Me above all people…And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation…" Exodus 19:5-6
Many people do not understand God's purpose in giving the Ten Commandments. Some think that the way to be saved is by keeping the Ten Commandments, but no one has ever been saved by keeping the law. If people cannot be saved by keeping the law, then why did God give the law? There are several reasons why God gave the law:
* The law showed men what God is like. The law is the expression of God's will. It shows us what is right and what is wrong in His sight. The law shows us that God is holy and righteous.
* The law showed men what sin was. If we did not have God's laws we would not know what sin is. The Bible says, "…for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)
* The law showed men that they were sinners and that they needed Christ as Savior. The Bible says,
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24)
Before speaking the Ten Commandments, God said, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." The word "LORD" is the word "Jehovah" in the Hebrew language. It is the redemptive name of God. The greatest name of God in all the Hebrew language is the name "Jehovah."
It is Jehovah God—the Savior-God, the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people who is speaking. He is speaking to His covenant people whom He redeemed and brought out of bondage. Only a redeemed people could give God the loving obedience which is due Him.
God's first commandment is: "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2-3) There is only one true God—Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He must have His rightful place in our heart.
When a sinner repents and turns to God, that is the beginning of God's getting the place that is due Him in that person's soul. The Bible says that there is joy in heaven every time a sinner repents.
It is in giving the Savior-God the place that is due Him that we come into blessing. We must love God more than we love any one else. We must love God more than we love money. We must love Him more than we love business, or pleasure, or anything else.
God will not take second place to anybody or anything. He is the great God who created all things. He is the great God who redeemed us with the precious blood of His Son, and He claims first place in our life.
Everything that absorbs our attention and our energies, so that God does not get His proper place with us, is of the nature of another "god."
Each of us should ask ourselves, "Does God have His rightful place in my life? Is there anyone or anything that I love more than I love God? Is there anyone or anything that has been absorbing my attention—anything that I have been putting before God?" God says, "You shall have no other gods before Me."
God has revealed Himself in all His grace and love that He might get the place that is due Him in our heart. One might say that God has given His heart to us that He might get our heart for Himself. It becomes the joy of one who has trusted Christ as his Savior to give God the place that is due Him. The Bible says,
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37