Whew! The 10 COMMANDMENTS are tough to revisit, aren’t they? As I have been digging down into what rules and laws have to do with FREEDOM I am even more amazed at God’s grace!
Unfortunately, in the 25-30 minutes we have on Sundays to talk about such important topics, it’s hard to get the FULL picture of how important the Old Testament 10 commandments are, but as I mentioned on Sunday, Jesus lives out those commandments, and reiterates those commandments by combining the 1st four commandments we talked about yesterday, the LOVE GOD commandments, with the next six commandments, the LOVE OTHERS commandments. We’ll talk about those last six in the next two weeks.
Let me give you a little more of the story …
The first time Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to receive God’s laws, he remained for 40 days. God gave him 10 commandments, carved in stone, and more than 600 additional laws that Moses was to share with the people. Yes, I said … the FIRST time. Exodus Chapters 20 – 31 outlines all those laws and I can imagine that Moses was pretty overwhelmed when he finally came down from Mount Sinai.
And what did he do? He smashed those tablets in a rage!
Why? Because: When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” Ex. 32:1 What’s so incredible about this is that it was Aaron, Moses’ brother, the right-hand man that God sent to help Moses that organized the building of the idol!
Presumably, the people made the idol “just in case” their God wasn’t really the one, true God, but they broke the central principle of the laws even as they were receiving them: “You shall have no other gods before me”. Ex. 20:3
When Moses saw the Israelites, God’s people, worshipping the golden calf they had built…. and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water, and made the Israelites drink it. Ex. 32:19-20
This is astonishing stuff!! Moses was furious because “the people were out of control and that it was Aaron’s fault. The people had made fools of themselves in front of their enemies” Ex. 32:25 God was so angry He wanted to destroy them (but grace prevailed!) and I would bet the Israelites were terrified of the repercussions coming! This was one BIG mess!
In the end, it was God’s grace that drew Moses back up the mountain for the second round of rules, and here’s the thing … the new, revised ten commandments (you can read them here) were given to Israel, along with all the other rules, not simply as a suggestion but as a rule of life! God wanted them to know how to live a wonderful life in His beautiful land, and under His authority, and these commandments are what would make them who they were meant to be. They provided a unique moral and ceremonial pattern for their community living: it told them what festivals to celebrate, who they could marry, what they could eat, etc.
I like how Psalm 19 paints a lovely picture of WHY the study and observance of the law was so important to the Israelites: The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple… They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb (Ps 19:7,10). This is pretty powerful imagery, especially in a culture that didn’t even KNOW about refined sugar!
Sadly, while God did not abandon His people, they were punished for worshipping a false idol: And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made. 32:35 And this is the nature of sin … our choices, while we are always forgiven, DO have consequences! Freedom comes when we make choices pleasing to God and the 10 commandments give us everything we need to live ABUNDANTLY in God’s grace!
THIS SUNDAY: Love Others – Commandments 5-6
WHAT’S GOING ON? See the calendar here!
We’re happy to welcome the DULCIMER DAMES to FUMC! They will be meeting to practice in Asbury Hall on THURSDAYS, 1:30 – 3 pm and you are welcome to join them! The dulcimer is a “musical instrument with a sounding board or box, typically trapezoidal in shape, over which strings of graduated length are stretched, played by being struck with handheld hammers.” If you want to learn and be around supportive others who want to practice, or you’re looking for a group to encourage your already blossoming hobby, you are welcome! Click to here how pretty they sound! For more information contact: Glynda Willis, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRAFTERS will start meeting again on Wednesdays, 3-5 PM again starting August 3rd. Come for the creative fellowship and help make crafts for Christmas in the Park
WILD, WACKY WEDNESDAYS in July continues, 6 – 7:15 …we’ll all have hotdogs and ice cream together, then at 6:30 the kids will head outside for wacky water fun and the adults will meet for Bible study to discuss the UNFORGIVABLE SIN.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS CLASS, Saturday, July 30, part 1 and August 6, part 2, 9 am – 3 pm … this 2 part-class will help participants understand spiritual gifts and how the church can use them to fulfill its mission and ministry. Participants will identify their own spiritual gifts and also learn what it means to be a spiritual leader who is equipped to lead others in exploring and using their own spiritual gifts. Contact Carla Chitsey for details: email@example.com
YOU’RE INVITED TO THE GRAPE HARVEST, July 23rd and July 30th, 7 am – 11 am, Mary & Brad’s vineyard, 9502 FM 1448, Winnsboro: this has become a tradition at FUMC where we help harvest grapes and then share the fresh juice on our communion Sunday! Mary writes: “We furnish harvest forks, buckets, and gloves. You should wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little grape juice on and bring sunscreen, hat, and protection. The grass will be shredded but you will probably want closed shoes for the vineyard. Be sure to bring your swimsuits and flip-flops for stomping and enjoying the pool! Our goal is to finish around 11 so that we can enjoy a stomp, swim, potluck, and tasting. Many harvesters make light work and more time for fun! It’s a family affair! We hope you will come and bring your friends! For planning purposes, it would be helpful if you can let us know which harvest you will be attending and approximately how many people are in your party.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Please HONOR THE SABBATH, 10:50 – 11:50 am on Sundays … children’s church, K – 5th graders; online on Facebook, (https://www.facebook.com/FUMCWinnsboro) or in-person with your friends and neighbors.