Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Moses Gate Country Park, Bolton

“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Hello again. I hope you’re all well and had a good Jubilee weekend. We had a lovely four days together and visited a few local beauty spots, including Moses Gate, a country park in Bolton. It was our first time there but we would certainly recommend it.

I’ve been meaning to tackle the subject of the Ten Commandments for a while. I’m only going to look at the first five this time. The Ten Commandments were designed to lead Israel into a life of practical holiness. In them, people could see the nature of God and His plan for how they should live, but they began to think that, if they obeyed these laws, it would guarantee prosperity and safety from foreign invasion and natural disaster.

The Israelites had just come from Egypt, a land of many idols and gods. Because each god represented a different aspect of life, it was common to worship many gods in order to get the maximum number of blessings. When God told His people to worship Him, He was just one more god to add to the list! But when He said “You shall have no other gods before me”, it was difficult for them to accept. It was God who led them out of Egypt, after all, which is why He made this the first commandment.

Man has had many gods, including those of Hindu, Islam, Buddhist, through the new age props of crystals, spiritual gurus, and even from the dark side – the occult. There is, however, only one true God, and He is the God of the Bible, our wonderful Creator.

These days, we can allow many things to become gods to us. Money, fame, work and pleasure can become our gods when we devote too much time and energy to them.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol.” (Exodus 20:4)

When we think of idols, we often conjure up pictures of statues in exotic Far Eastern temples. For most of us, bowing down to some carved piece of wood seems ridiculous. But idolatry does not involve just bizarre ancient sculptures. Idols don’t even have to be things you can touch. They include anything which takes the place of God in our lives – money, possessions, career, sport, music, etc. An idol is what people live for and can involve any value, idea or activity we place before God. I often guiltily wonder if my cookbook collection takes too much precedence in my life. 🙃

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:7)

God’s name is special because it carries His personal identity. Using it frivolously or in a curse is so common today that we may fail to realise how serious it is. God’s name should be respected and used appropriately, for praise and worship.

I am an avid reader and really enjoy modern fiction but am frequently disappointed to find the dialogue peppered with blasphemy. So many writers seem to think they cannot produce a good story without this offensive language, and many a book has been spoiled by this. It’s the same with television – so many excellent films and TV dramas are ruined in this way. I guess this is just one more sign of the times in which we are living….

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)

The Sabbath was a day set aside for rest and worship. This was originally on Saturdays, and Jewish people used to refrain from work and hold their religious services on that day – a tradition still maintained in modern Judaism.

After Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday, Christians started to worship on that day, as it was considered an appropriate day to remember what God has done for His people.

Clearly, not everyone can enjoy a day off work on Sunday. Shops remain open, as do hospitals, police stations, fire stations and many more. But the principle of a day of rest is a sound one for all and is much needed in these stressful times.

“Honour your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12)

To honour your parents means to speak well of them and to be polite, showing them courtesy and respect. Even those who don’t get on well with their parents are still commanded to honour them. Not everyone has a good relationship with their parents and this can cause great difficulties and stress.

Jesus’s mother, brothers and sisters tried to take Him away from the crowd, as they had heard rumours of what He was doing by preaching and performing miracles, and were worried about Him. They didn’t always understand just who Jesus was, and He had to defend His ministry against His family’s well-meaning attempts to intervene. At the same time, Jesus was the model son. Some of His last words on the cross were to arrange for His disciple John to look after His mother.

Well, that's all for now.  I hope you have a good weekend and stay well.  Until next time:

No Christ, no hope - know Christ, know hope!

Love Ann

Moses Gate Country Park, Bolton