Sunday, 6 December 2020
Rev. Dr Daniel Poon
Today we will continue to talk about the Ten Commandments. When we mention the Ten Commandments, we tend to feel we are asked not to do this or that, so we need to unlock all the mysteries behind the Ten Commandments. God does not intend to bind and control us. The reason God gave us the Ten Commandments is that He wanted us to cherish the relationship between Him and His children. Relationship is very important. The first commandment of the Ten Commandments is to cherish the relationship with God. The second commandment is about the pure relationship between the Creator and His children.
Deuteronomy 18:9-19 tell the background of the Ten Commandments. If you don’t understand the background, you will misunderstand the Ten Commandments. The Israelites left Egypt where people worshiped many gods, and Pharaoh regarded himself as the son of sun. The Israelites entered the land of Canaan where the people worshipped many idols. In the past 430 years in Egypt, the Israelites knew many gods. They also knew that the LORD God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and saw Him as one of the gods. But the LORD God told them that He is the only God, which was the first commandment.
Now the Israelites were going to enter the Land of Canaan, where they would face many idols. From the past experience in Egypt, Israelites were easily influenced, so God told them to keep a pure relationship with Him, who values the purity of relationships.
- The Danger of Impurity
Exodus 20:4 “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;
Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
We were created in the image of God. This is also what Genesis 1:26 records, “Let us create human beings in our image and in our likeness so that they can manage everything.” Therefore, we were created in the image of God, and only we were created in the image of God.
If we create something else to worship instead of God, that is like having an affair in a marriage relationship. The key to marriage is that the two become one; but when an affair occurs, a lot of things happen, which are not part of this unique relationship. If you are dissatisfied with this relationship, you will create some fake stuff which were not created by God in marriage. This is why singers always asks their fans to buy the original version of their songs in order to keep the relationship pure.
The Canaanites were very clever. They knew that only the God of Israel had no specific image. Other gods had visible images. So, they said to the Israelites that the LORD God was the God of your nation, but Canaanites also had a family god and a personal god. It was not enough to just have your national God, and you also need a family and personal god.
Judges 3:7, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, forgot the Lord their God, and went to serve the Baal and Asherah. They regarded Baal as the god of the family. When God was talking to Moses on Mount Sinai, the Israelites on the other side of the mountain asked Aaron to make an idol of God to worship. This is our problem. We know God, but we have no relationship with God, and we are not pure in our relationship with God. Our family also have many problems, and we will rely on other things instead of God. We create many things without following the Bible. We don’t think the 66 books of the Bible are enough. Joshua said that he and his family will serve God. But we may say our household is different from theirs, so we have created many things that are different from the Bible. David said in the Psalm that my heart and soul must trust in God. When we feel bored, lost, and dry, we will rely on entertainment, rest, and travelling. But the example of Jesus Christ is that when He was tired, he would go up the mountain alone to pray to the Father. God has showed us what the relationship is like. But we are easily confused by the world and culture.
Jesus came to do the will of the Heavenly Father, but He worked as a servant. I only believe what the Bible tells us. This is why our church commits ourselves to morning prayers, studying chapter after chapter. From the beginning to the end, we must remain pure, otherwise we will be in temptation – once started, it is hard to stop. The world tries to pull us out of our focus on the Bible. The Bible tells us that you have to be careful. If you try to do something to meet your desires, it will become your idol.
How does God treat all idols? In1 Kings 18:19, there are four hundred prophets following idols. Do not think that you are a prophet and you are fine. Prophets are very sensitive in the spiritual realm. In the service of the Fivefold Ministries, the prophets should serve the apostles instead of speaking out whatever they want. They must have words of confirmation and knowledge to help the apostles affirm the way God wants them to go. The prophets are sometimes wrong, so the apostles’ confirmation is necessary.
Therefore, we must understand the word “image”. Image is very important. God created us in His image, but we also create idols in the same way. Idols are not from God. Image=imagination, image has the same root as imagination. When we rely on leisure, entertainment, and shopping instead of our God – then only when the personal gods and family gods cannot help us will we turn to the national God. But God does not allow such things to happen, it is not pure because we belong to Him and He also belongs to us, just like the relationship in a marriage. In the same way, our God wants us to be pure. If we do not remain pure, we would face dangers. Everything created by our imagination is an idol. We must be careful and cautious.
2. The Consequences of Impurity
Exodus 20:5 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,
The word “jealous”, whose original meaning in the Bible has two aspects: “good jealous” and “bad jealous”. In the original text of the Bible, the “bad” jealousy is to be jealous of people who are richer and better than us, and “good jealousy” is that “I don’t want you to do bad things, I hope you do the right thing, otherwise I will be jealous.” This just like a father loves his child because all parents want their children to do the right things and do things the right way. This is good jealousy, because you want the other person to be good. Therefore, the original Hebrew language of jealousy is the good jealousy, which means I want my children to be good. If we understand this, we will find that the whole meaning might have been translated incorrectly, because God does not need to be jealous of anyone as He is better than everyone.
Why does God say that He is a jealous (wanting His children to be good) God? Why would anyone hate God? People think that the second commandment is not to carve idols, because God is a jealous God, why? He hopes his children to do well. He says that I am the LORD your God, I love My children and I hope My children are good, because I don’t want them to hate me.
Deuteronomy 18:9, just like Chinese and Indians, we will live with our parents for three generations and four generations. In Canaan, if the people wanted to have children, they would take their wives to the temple, and the temple prostitutes would commit adultery with their wives and have children. They dedicated their children to idols. Suppose if you were one of those children, what would your memory be like? How would you think about your parents? Those children would hate the Gods of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob very much for bringing their family out of Egypt to experience all this. That’s why God said I am a jealous God. Exodus 20:5 says “visiting the iniquity of … those who hate Me” – The original text says visiting, i.e., God visited the third and fourth generations who hated God, hoping that their relationship with God could be restored. God values relationships and values your children. He wants your whole family to have a pure relationship with Him, and does not want you to affect your children because of the wrong thing you do. My God will visit my children. He loves us and cares about us. Even if the parents do wrong, maybe the parents’ divorce destroys the children’s faith in marriage, but God will visit those who belong to Him. God is loving and caring. Maybe we don’t believe in God, but God will visit us. Not only that, God also gives us promises and hopes.
Ezekiel 18:14, 17
14 “If, however, he begets a son Who sees all the sins which his father has done, And considers but does not do likewise;
17 Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor And not received usury or increase, But has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes—He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!
Even now in Israel, the debts of the father should be paid by son. It is a curse. By following God, the curse will be cut off. When following God’s commandment, you will not die because of the sins of your father. God wants to bless us, not to pass down the curses from our ancestors.
3. Blessings of Purity
Exodus 20:6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
The word “showing in the original text of the Bible means that God will try to use all things to pass on His love to us for generations. Our problems will be passed on to three or four generations, but God will try to use all methods to pass on His love for many generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Many people say that the Old Testament talks about punishment, but Paul loved the Old Testament very much. He embraced the Old Testament because he knew the true meaning of the Old Testament. We only know the knowledge of the Old Testament, and we have not used the Holy Spirit to unlock the Old Testament to become our spiritual food. In the Old Testament, God talked about relationship. This is what the Ten Commandments mean, why don’t we understand? Because what you pursue is the just words of God, not the Rhema from God.
Deuteronomy 7:9, “Therefore, know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
God shows that he loves us. Everything Jesus talked about came from God the Father. Today we unlock the second commandment of the Ten Commandments, so God wants us to have a pure relationship with Him, because He wants to bless us, not to hurt us. If we are not in His way, we will take the way of the world, the way of idols, and become farther and farther away from God, just like how the Canaanites had lied to them, “You have the God of a nation, Jehovah, and you can also have a family and a personal god like us. In doing this, you would get triple blessings.”
Many years ago, my marriage encountered big problems. The relationship between me and my wife was very tense. I couldn’t feel love and respect so I began to listen to lies. I lived a double life. An affair made me feel love and respect, but I still kept myself in my marriage covenant. This is the devil’s lie so I did not think it was wrong. The light of God hit me and I suddenly woke up.
Maybe you have no affair in your marriage, maybe you have not lived a double life, but in your relationship with God, is there anything else? Or do you rely on what you imagine to meet your needs instead of relying on God?
Response: God is telling us about purity today. We have been affected a lot by this world. God is not criticising and judging us. He wants to restore His relationship with us. He visits us and restores the blessings He has given us, not curses—brought from our fathers or ancestors. Tell God today, I created some idols from my own imagination, not relying on God, but get comfort from something other than God’s love. Pray to cut off the connection with idols, the connection with idols from our imagination. There is no other god, and nothing else makes my children feel loved and successful. In the name of Jesus, we bind those idols and false gods, and use the sword of the Holy Spirit to cut off the connection between us and the dark power behind those false gods! We declare the freedom for children of God!
出20:4 – “不可为自己雕刻偶像，也不可做什么形象仿佛上天、下地和地底下、水中的百物。
因此，我们要很明白形象这个词，image很重要，神是照着他的形象造我们，但是我们也是用同样的方式创造偶像，偶像不是从神而来。Image=Imagination，形象跟想象同字根。我们倚靠休闲、娱乐、购物的时候，我们就不去倚靠神了。这就是人的问题 – 如果个人的神、家庭的神无法帮助我们，我们才会去到民族的神那里。但是神不允许这样的事情发生，因为这就不纯洁了，我们是属于他的，他也属于我们的，就像婚姻一样，我们想要拥有对方的一切。我们的神也是一样，保持纯洁。如果我们不保持纯洁，是非常危险的，所有凭着我们的想象创造出来的都是偶像，我们一定要小心、谨慎。
出 20:5 – 不可跪拜那些像，也不可侍奉它，因为我耶和华你的神是忌邪的神。恨我的，我必追讨他的罪，自父及子，直到三四代；
为什么神说他是为了他的儿女好（jealous）的神？为什么有人会恨神？人们想到第二诫就是不要雕刻偶像，因为神是为了他的儿女好的神。他希望他的孩子好。我是耶和华你的神，我爱我的孩子，希望我的孩子好，因为我不希望他们恨我。申18:9，就像中国人和印度人一样，我们会跟父母三代四代同堂。在迦南，他们想要有孩子，他们会把妻子带到庙里，庙妓会和妻子行淫生孩子。他们把孩子献给偶像，经过火，如果你是孩子，自己的记忆会是怎样？对父母做的会怎么想？孩子会很恨亚伯拉罕、以撒、雅各的神，将我们从埃及带出来让我们全家经历这些，他们会恨神、恨耶和华，这是神把他们带到迦南，这就是为什么神会说我是为了儿女好的神。出20:5“visiting the iniquity of … those who hate Me” – 中文圣经没有翻译出来，圣经原文说visiting，神探访第三四代的人，但是他们恨神。神想要去探访他们，希望他们能够恢复与神的关系，神看重关系，看重你的孩子，他想要你的全家都与神有纯洁的关系，不要因为你做的事情影响你的孩子。我的神会造访我的孩子，他爱我们、关心我们，即便父母做错事，也许父母离婚毁掉了孩子对婚姻的信念。神会造访那些很他的人，神是爱、关心。也许我们不相信神了，但是神会造访我们。不仅如此，神也给我们应许、盼望。
以西结书18:14,17 – 在以色列即便是如今也是父债子还，有其父必有其子，这是咒诅。圣经说这是不对的。单纯跟随神，咒诅就会被砍断，跟随神的诫命，就不因父亲的罪恶死亡，神要给我们祝福，不是要我们祖辈的咒诅传到我们。
出20:6 – 爱我守我诫命的，我必向他们发慈爱，直到千代。