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Remember where you came from

By Mike Waine


Exodus 20:1-3 “ Then God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.”


It’s very easy to think of Exodus 20 simply as the famous chapter in which God gives the Israelites his ten most important rules. You know the ones; don’t murder, steal or covet, don’t make idols etc. Probably every Sunday school in the country has gone over these verses at some point. But have we all grown up with the wrong impression of the Ten Commandments? Is it really just Old Testament legalism or is there something that we in the 21st century can actually learn from it?


The Israelites were notoriously dim and, as we read in Exodus 32, IMMEDIATELY after they hear the Commandments and laws given, they decide to build an idol. Now in their defense, the laws are pretty extensive and even the most fervent theological scholar would have struggled to pay attention to the whole thing. But come on! This was God giving His law to His people, and the very first thing He says in verse 4 is “You shall not make for yourself an idol.” Yet the very first thing that happens after the laws are given is that the Israelites say to Aaron, “Come, make gods for us.” Unbelievable…


It’s great to have hindsight in such situations and think “Oh those silly Israelites, they got it wrong so fast!” But what’s important to consider is why they should have obeyed. It may seem obvious, but the answer is because God said so! God even reminds them just before the Commandments begin that it was Him who liberated them from slavery and out of Egypt. God has done great things for them in the past and has proven Himself trustworthy.


But what about us? Hasn’t God done amazing things for us in our lives? But yet, when it comes to certain areas of living, we struggle to trust God. How easily we forget the good things God does when it comes to something that seems more appealing to us or when something feels too big or scary. We need to remember where we came from and how God has blessed us. Then, hopefully, we might find it just a little easier to trust in God.


The words of Corrie Ten Boom feel a pertinent reminder in these days of uncertainty:


“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

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