I don’t like to be told what to do!
There, I’ve admitted it. I really don’t like it when someone else is the boss and I’m to obey whatever directions or rules are dictated to me. Even if that other person knows what he/she is talking about, even when I am in the dark and don’t know what I’m doing, there is just something in my nature that rebels against authority and rules.
My guess is, deep down, you know what I am talking about. You don’t like rules and rule-givers either. That seems to be part of our common makeup, we resist direction and authority, even when it could be good for us. (See Isaiah 53:6)
That brings us to THE BIG TEN, the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20) given by God to the Children of Israel in the Sinai Desert after they fled Egypt. For the past 4000 years, the Ten Commandments have been central to Jewish and Christian teaching and practice.
When confronted by The Big 10, we feel a sense of reluctance.
- We are reluctant to observe a “commandment.” Commands mean we are told what to do
- We are reluctant to obey and quick to disobey or ignore commands.
- We are reluctant to give up what we want, when we want it (even if it isn’t good for us or others)
- We are reluctant to admit we don’t have everything all figured out, and Someone else knows better.
On the Loop 101 freeway, not far from my office, there are four south-bound lanes as you approach a long curve on the highway. The road signs (rules) indicate a curve to the left and a 65 mph speed limit. To the right side of the road are rocks, a hillside, bushes and trees. Drivers are supposed to stay in one of the four lanes. They can choose any of the lanes to drive in, but they are supposed to stay on the road.
If a driver goes off the road, there will be consequences, either an accident or worse may happen. Several years ago, someone drove that stretch of the road too fast, didn’t make the curve and ended up down the hill, in the bushes, dead and unnoticed for several days.
God gives us directions (commands) to protect us and others. He tells us clearly what we should avoid. If my two-year old grandson approaches a hot oven, we protect him, telling him, “No, don’t go over there, buddy.” If he wanders toward the street, we don’t suggest “maybe that’s not a good idea.” We call out loud and clear to protect him from danger.
The fundamental challenge for us is to admit and embrace the idea that God knows what is better for us than we do. Life can go amazingly well, when we grasp this. That is the crux of wisdom, listening to God who knows better (see Proverbs 1:7).
In the coming weeks, I’ll be discussing each of the Big Ten. Check back for new posts. Until then, I trust you will be blessed as you observe the Big Ten.