Monday, September 1, 2008

Challenged by Deuteronomy to turn the TV off

This term in church and in our small groups we have been looking at Deuteronomy. When I first heard what we would be studying I was a little disappointed - surely there were books of the Bible that would be more relevant, more applicable. How wrong I was! Every chapter has been teaching and changing me. Every study I walk away challenged and stretched. Two things in particular have become very clear to me:

1. Our God is a jealous God who demands and expects obedience.
Again and again it is written: The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees...(7:24) and again, Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees and his commands always (11:1) and again, Obey the LORD you God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today (27:10). This phrase is repeated over and over and over and it is followed nearly always by this command: You shall have no other gods before me or The LORD our God the LORD is one (6:4) or Serve Him only... do not follow other gods (6:13-14) or It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere...serve him and hold fast to him (13:14).

While I have known this, read it before, never before has it impacted me quite so. I started to think of all the times I have loved another or something else more than Him. Many, many times!
And then in the middle of the night I was thinking about this world I am raising my children in. My mind flashed back to an episode of Oprah where she talked about god, or a force or a presence or what ever you choose to call it. She talks about spirituality, about finding your centre, about forgiveness and patients. While it all sounds good, never once is God mentioned and when he is he is not the LORD the only, awesome, true God. This realisation made me see how I have let people into my home (by means of the television) preaching and teaching things that are detestable to the Lord. I have become softened and accepting. The Bible talks about people "inciting rebellion against the Lord (13:5)" it states that those people must be purged, stoned and destroyed. How enticed I have been, blinded. Somethings will be changing around here.

2. The Lord's name is holy
Yesterday in church as the Bible was being read, one verse in particular stood out to me:
If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and revere this glorious and awesome name - the LORD your God - the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants...(28:58-59)
Too often I hear God's name used in detestable ways. It roles of people's tongues, used like another adjective, an acceptable swear word. Again I have become softened, it doesn't cut so deep or sound so harsh anymore. The other day Mr. T used it, testing to see our reactions, confused by the messages he is receiving. Quickly we explained that we do not use God's name like that, that it is sin, before returning our attention to the television where minutes later God's name was again misused. Shame on me!

The list of things I have been learning is far longer. God's standard is high and I fall short, so short. However, thanks to God's grace and mercy Jesus has come and placed me in a right relationship with Him. Because of Him I can be called "child of God". I am overwhelmed that that is even possible!

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