Last time we talked about the requirements of the First Commandment. Today let’s dive into the other two categories and try and find a way to help us defeat the idols we fall for in our daily lives. But first, let’s read the rest of the text for the commandment:
For I am the Lord your God, a jealous God, recompensing the sins of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generation to them that hate me, and bestowing mercy on them that love me to thousands of them, and on them that keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:6 (LXX2012)
When children today are taught the commandments this portion of the text is sadly cut off in most cases. This portion contains, not only what we already know, that God judges those who worship any other than Him; but it also tells us that great mercy is given to 1,000 generations if only one would trust Him. This is the secret, I think, in keeping this command.
The Blessings of the First Commandment
For if you rest, you shall be undismayed; and if you sleep, you shall slumber sweetly.
Proverbs 3:24 (LXX2012)
The blessings of the first commandment are the greatest of all. God promises to be our God. He says He will govern and uphold us. He will keep us, protect us in our greatest fear, love us through our biggest messes, and provide for us whenever we have a need.
God will through means, that is, through the governing of creation, provide for us all that is necessary for both this life and the next. He will not rain down from heaven our food as for Israelites in the desert, but rather will enable us to gain what we must, to barter for what we need.
The Perversion of the First Commandment
Finally, we have the way in which Satan seeks to pervert the first commandment. Satan looks to bring evil upon us. In doing so, he is craftier than any other. Thrusting torments at us he tricks us into thinking it comes from God. We do not have enough money, or a big enough house, because God has not fulfilled his end of the bargain. We lose our job or fail in a venture because God did not prosper our way.
In doing so, Satan manipulates us into despising God and turning to other means to supply our want. We then make idols out of other ways to provide our needs. Abandoning the God that could save us from all this trouble.
Even worse, the evil one tricks us into thinking that now God owes us something and thus we make God out to be a debtor.
Keeping the Command
It is this great trick of the devil that hinders us from trusting fully in God. Because at the very root of our distrust is our firm belief that God either will not supply us our need or that He will instead meet out judgement on our heads.
Yet when we come to acknowledge that God is constantly providing us precisely what we need (though not in the manner we expect it) we begin the very long journey of trusting in Him whom we have not seen. Just as Jesus has taught:
Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.
John 20:29 (WEB)
What struggles do you face that keep you from believing? Let’s talk about them in the comments below. There is much that can prevent us from seeing God for Who He is. One job of the Church is to help one another see the One True God and realize His great love for us.
Next week, let’s take a look at the second commandment, how to use God’s name.
Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.