Developing Wholehearted Commitment (Part 1)
"And God spoke all these words, saying: '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. You shall not make for yourself a carved image--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; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 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. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's'" (Exo. 20:1-17).

That portion of text is commonly referred to as the Ten Commandments. It is essentially the core values that God wanted His children in that era to live by. These ten items were straightforward do's and don'ts with very little rationalization given for why God issued them. I suspect that some Israelites probably wondered about the need or relevance of certain commands. Perhaps some considered the commands to be unfair or too restrictive. I suspect that such was the case because humans haven't really changed in the last 3500 years, and some men and women still think this way today! In our current age, some feel that God's commandments for mankind today (found in the New Testament) are merely designed to keep people from having fun! Such is far from the truth, whether one is considering divine decrees from the Old or New Testaments.

I believe that God's love permeates His commandments throughout all the Scriptures. God, as our Creator, truly knows what is best for us and what will bring us contentment and joy in this realm. He commands certain actions and prohibits other actions because He cares for us! But, some think they know better than God as to how they should live their life and what moral compass they should be guided by. They are mistaken! God's values are not negotiable (Deut. 4:2), and they certainly cannot be improved by man!

Friends, the only way to really live life as God intended is to live life wholeheartedly committed to Him! Most of the law books of the Old Testament were filled with do's and don'ts for the daily life of the Israelites. Some foolishly rebelled against God's divine authority just as teenagers today sometimes rebel against parental authority. The Hebrews that rebelled did so because they didn't want to submit to God's rules! They didn't want to live a life devoted to the LORD! They wanted to live life on their own terms--ultimately committed to no one but themselves. Such was not acceptable to God then, and it still is not acceptable to God today under the New Covenant.

God wants us to love Him with all our heart and demonstrate that love through submission to His commands. We will consider more on this important theme tomorrow.