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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

God’s words matter most

Exodus 20:1-17  (ESV)
1  And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”

Whose words matter most? The government’s? The scientists’? The experts’? Your loved ones’?
What about your words? Some would say that your words matter most. “Find your voice.” “Speak out.” “It will empower you.”

However, God’s words matter most. Society can say that morality evolves over time. We can tell ourselves that right and wrong are determined by our own feelings in the moment. But God’s words matter most.

God spoke these words: I am the only God. Worship me alone. Trust and honor my name alone. Give credence to my word above all other words. Honor the earthly authorities I have set up, at home, in church, and in government. Respect and preserve the gift of life, regardless of its “quality”. Respect and keep pure the gifts of marriage and sexuality. Respect the possessions God gave others and practice wise stewardship of what God gives you. Keep the good name of others intact. Guard even your thoughts, lest they dishonor God or display lovelessness for others. These are God’s Ten Commandments.

Those are God’s words. They matter most. They determine what is right and wrong, for everyone, no matter what our feelings.

When God speaks, we are silent. We recognize our sin. We admit our faults. We confess that God is right and we are in the wrong.

But God isn’t done speaking. He also speaks his love. His Word became flesh. His Son was born for us. God spoke that we are forgiven when Jesus died in our place. God spoke that we are justified, not guilty, by his Son’s resurrection from death. God speaks to you: I love you. I forgive you. Do not be afraid. I hold you in my hand. By faith in my Son, Jesus, heaven is yours. You are mine.

God’s words about right and wrong, and above all, his words about his love and forgiveness in Jesus, matter most. We would be wise to listen and adhere to them.

Dear Lord, our sinful nature wants to speak up. But we want to hear You speak. When you speak, we know Your love and forgiveness in Christ. Let your words dwell in our hearts. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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