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Imperatives for God's People

(Exodus 19:3-6; 20:2-4,7,8,12-17)

Lesson 3 -- fourth quarter 1999
September 19, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

"I...brought you unto myself." This statement of closeness and relationship well summarizes the unique position the Israelites had among the peoples of the world. No other people group had been selected by the Almighty and drawn next to Him. What a blessing and what assurance to know they were not just on Jehovah's side, but also at His side! And what was required of them (for surely such a requirement would exist)?

Loyalty. That's it. The matter gets no more complicated than that. Even so, we must have one issue free of any ambiguity: God being God, His perspective on loyalty goes deeper than any outward act of fealty. Even before the dawn of Christian grace, God wanted the heart of His people. Of course He wanted those external expressions of loyal obedience, but only as they emanated from a fervent heart. That, my friend, is obeying God's voice indeed.

Since God has brought you to Himself, why should you now seek out and establish some other gods in place of Him? Why (through carelessness or premeditation) turn against Him with such disloyalty? Whenever any other god threatens God's place in your life, remember: "I...brought you unto myself."

Since God has brought me to Himself, what need should I have of creating any sort of likeness to represent Him? He is far too great to be represented by any image, real or imaginary. When I have a brought-to-Him relationship with Him I will want to avoid anything that cheapens and minimizes Him. Whenever I think I need something physical to represent Him, or whenever I think I need to visualize Him in some sort of mystical way, I must remember: "I...brought you unto myself."

Since God has brought us to Himself, how would we ever dare use His name frivolously? Why would we want to make His name a handy vehicle for expressing anger or even pleasure? As we consider the seriousness of taking God's name in vain, though, let us not err by bearing the name Christian lightly. Furthermore, let us be extremely careful and conscientious in our praying lest we be guilty of using "In Jesus' Name" vainly. When we are so close to God, even the use of His name matters in our speech and in our lives in general. So for those times when we become careless with one of the names of the Almighty: "I...brought you unto myself."

Since God has brought you and me to Himself, how shall that intimate relationship affect and guide our other interpersonal relationships?

Consider the last six Commandments and note that the nearness of God in our lives will lead us to obedience. Only because of our relationship with God can we faithfully honor our parents, grant life, maintain moral purity, respect the property of others, practice truth and integrity, and be content with what we have. "I...brought you unto myself."

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