“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB
Today was a good day. Church and then lunch with Daughter’s family. Exercised. Enjoyed conversations with those around me. Wasted time playing jigsaw puzzles on the computer. Read a couple chapters of new book. Took a small nap. Watered a newly planted magnolia tree. Played “ball” with the puppies – a million and one times. Thanked God for the blessings of feeling sick over the past couple of weeks.
Did your eyebrows go up to your forehead?
Yup – I thanked God for having to deal with an aging body and a minor illness. Illnesses slow me down. They come a little more often as I get older (cranky joints, nose that are sensitive to a million things that it never, ever noticed before, germs taking up residence in places I never knew existed – whoa – TMI). Infections center me on the important things; they remind me upon Whom I really depend, because – believe it or not – I do get all wrapped up in me. Can you tell that humbleness has never been one of my strong points? Well – it’s true. I have a healthy ego.
I sin a lot. Not the kind of sin that people gasp over (those I hope are in the past)– but sin, nevertheless. God is not a respecter of any kind of sin. He gasps at any sin. The old adage: sin is sin is sin, reminds us that to Jevhovah-Tsid Kenu, one sin is as grievous as another. It is still wrong. In a world striving to say that there are no absolutes, even saying the word “SIN” can bring a smirk, eye roll or sharp derision from family…acquaintances…best friends.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen 2:16-17
Once upon a time, there were absolutes. It started in a garden when men and women decided to reached for a piece of fruits. First absolute rolled upon the grass of history, and the Evil One chuckled. Lucky for us, God has a soft spot for silly, rebellious people and not so much for angels in open rebellion. (I think that they too had healthy egos.) After watching His bumbling, stumbling people for the next few centuries, God reached out to a man named Moshe (who also had His share of mistakes, but, lucky for the rest of us, not much of an ego). Moshe listened to God and walked up a mountain where he stood, kneeled and fell flat on his face on Holy Ground. A new covenant was drawn up; rules were established once again.
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Ex: 20:2-3
When I was a child, I always thought that “gods” meant those little things you saw in the movies or books…carved figures that had human characteristics but looked a little exaggerated in many of their features. As I got older, I finally figured out that those figures really had little to do with what Jehovah-Tsid Kenu was talking about in this verse. Yes, there were societies that had “gods” that they thought would answer all their needs: rain for crops, victory in war, peace in their cities, a good marriage, children for barren wombs, and the lists could go on and on. After all, isn’t that what “gods” are supposed to do? The Evil One would not be much of a contender if he didn’t create a few false gods to muddy up a world that was already trying to hide much bigger things than a bite that they took from a piece of fruit .
More money is the answer to prayers? A perfect marriage will solve all our unhappiness? The “young, perfect” guy is a whole lot better than the “old, imperfect” husband? That new car? New house? New phone? Notice that “gods” come in many shapes and sizes in our world these days, and sometimes we don’t recognize them until they have taken up residence in the home that we have built far away from Jehovah-Jireh’s kingdom.
Lucky for us, Our Father still has that soft spot for us. Jehovah-Saboth still wants to help, so He sent His son. Rabbi Yeshua stood on holy ground where ever He walked, so instead of people having to walk up the mountain, suffer the elements, do without the comforts of “home”, Rabbi Yeshua walked among them. He spoke to them in their language. Yet, He knew exactly what choosing that “cup” held in store for Him at the end of His journey on this pitiful world. He spoke this old commandment to those around Him.
A new covenant to Love. Love more than you think possible. Love that endures beyond hurt. Love that forgives over and over again. Love that originated with the One who loved us first. The One who taught us to Love.
I like to sometimes play with words. In my head, I substitute “humankind” for “Lord your God” and KNOW that is the commandment that Jehovah-Raah follows in His beautiful, peaceful, eternal kingdom. So…is it really so hard to follow His first commandment in our war-torn, stressful, finite kingdom?
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”