Some religions’ gods operate on a whim. You can’t be quite sure what they are up to. Even though you offer sacrifices on festival days, it’s never enough for appeasement. If you miss a capricious god or forget their special day, you might be in his or her line of fire. How fearful and dreadful such a life would be!
The Christian God is not like them. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) is not as much prohibitions as alignment with his nature. Worship God alone, because He is unique, the Only One, not mediated through idols. Don’t use his Name lightly, but approach God with great care, because “I AM” is set apart (holy).
God cautions, “Respect your parents, because I am your Father in heaven. Don’t steal, because I own everything and you can’t take what isn’t given to you. Don’t give false testimony, because I am Truth. Don’t cheat on your spouse, because community and relationships are sacred and essential to God who is Three in One, an eternal community. Don’t envy anyone anything, because I know how to care for you, and what I will give you is enough.”
I’m glad God is not capricious, changing his mind from day to day. He left us a record in scripture of what he is like, and how he has provided for us to know him. We know right away – from the first story – that we’ll never measure up on our own. We also read that he has given everything we need… if we’ll accept it.
I want to live in harmony with him in the world he has made. Ah, a reasonable God, who interacts with us because of his unfathomable love… who gives more grace than we deserve, who stays engaged when we are unfaithful. What other faith boasts of such sweet access and fellowship with our Creator?
*Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20 NIV
*[When asked by religious leaders,] “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " '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" (Matthew 22:36-40).
*If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2: 12-13