Sunday, 22 November, 2020
Rev. Daniel Poon
And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
Introduction: God created human beings because He values relationships. When we look at the Ten Commandments from the perspective of relationships, we can find many treasures. In the beginning, God spoke to the people, “I am the Lord your God.” When I talk to my eight-month-old son, I will not say in a fierce voice, I AM YOUR DAD! I will say in a very gentle tone, I am your father. How did the relationship start? What attitude we choose to treat the relationship is not to be influenced by others. This is our choice. How do you start a relationship? Single sisters, there are often many boys chasing after you. If you treat everyone in the same way, they will get confused. When we start a relationship, we choose whom to be with. This is our choice and decision. It is your choice to marry a special one. How to start a relationship with God is our choice, not God’s choice, because God is love, and God loves everyone. God even loves those who do not love him or know him, and God also loves those who resist him. His love is long, wide, high and deep, more than we can understand. 2000 years ago, when we did not know God, He prepared Jesus Christ for us to die on the cross. God has already prepared. God is always here. He is ready to wait for us to respond to him.
1.This Is Our Choice
When Israelites saw things happen, they were afraid. They told Moses that you can talk to us but don’t let God talk to us. The Israelites made the decision to stop establishing a relationship with God. This was out of their fear. What they saw and heard scared them, and they forgot what they had experienced with God: how they were saved from Egypt where they were slaves for four hundred years. God even separated the Red Sea for them to cross it and gave them manna to eat in the wilderness. They forgot that God love them. They were scared by what was happening, so they decided not to have a relationship with God. So, they just did what was asked to do – the “doing” mode started from then. The Ten Commandments told them what they were allowed and not allowed to do. In the past, we learned the Ten Commandments from Sunday schools and homes. They told us what we are allowed and not allowed to do. The purpose of God’s Ten Commandments is not like this. God wanted to establish a relationship with the Israelites.
Instead of looking at the Ten Commandments from the perspective of doing, we should look at them from the perspective of relationship building. The Lord Jesus also said that He came to fulfil the law, not to abolish the law. What we see is that the people of Israel refused to establish a relationship with God from the beginning. On the other hand, in verse 20, Moses said to all the people, don’t be afraid, God came to test you. Moses told them not to fear. Fear is the killer of relationships. Fear will make you misunderstand what comes from God and authority. What God said to you is to love you. For example, if you were told by your authority to do something, your first thought is being controlled by him. This is because we have the idea of doing, which is rooted from the people of Israel. What God says is not that you have to do these things. Every Israelite knew the Ten Commandments, but why still Israel was split into two countries, Israel and Judah in the end? God will never bind people, and your authority will not bind you to do anything. They advise you but you view their advice in a negative way. Because we twist it into doing, we don’t see the relationship and love in the relationship. All we see is manipulation or suppression from our spiritual authority. But God is not like this and this is not the truth. The truth is that God wants us to be close to Him. However, because of fear, people choose to keep a distance from Him.
Psalm 103:7 : What Moses saw was “why” God did this behind everything? Because of fear, the Israelites had problems with God. They couldn’t feel love. All they saw were just “what” God did. Even if they have freedom, they can’t see it. But God is love, and He cherishes their relationship. Relationships are very important.
2. No Other Gods
“Have no other gods” is the first of the Ten Commandments. Often when we read this, our interpretation is that “God does not allow me to have other gods, and I’m just allowed to do what I have been told”. We need to understand why God said this to the Israelites. When we focus on what we can and cannot do, we are trapped in a box. Remember the Israelites had lived in Egypt for over 430 years until they were led by Moses out of it. Joseph was the prime minister in Egypt for 30 years then the new king who did not know him came into power. The Israelites worked hard in Egypt for 400 years. What they did was to make bricks day and night. Their children had no choice but to work as slaves just as their fathers did. After living in Egypt for 400 years, these Israelites were all brainwashed by the Egyptian culture.
Moses asked God, who are You? God said, “I AM WHO I AM”. The Israelites are Israelites in their appearance but Egyptians inside.
From Isaiah 45:5, we see the Israelites knew that God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but they did not have any personal relationship with him at all. The Egyptians are polytheistic, which means they had more than 2,000 gods, among whom there were 29 main gods and more than 2,000 minor ones. Having lived in Egypt for 400 years, they all knew these gods. So, God told them that there were no other gods besides Him. He said, “I chose your ancestor Abraham and used signs and wonder to prove that I am your God. Jacob, your great-great-grandfather saw me as his only true God. Because of all the miracles and wonders, you would know that I am the only true God besides all gods.” What God told the Israelites was not to worship other gods. God told them the truth. The firstborns of the Egyptians were dead while the Israelites’ survived, through which God wants to tell us that we should have the right relationship with Him, which is not to bind us.
Today God wants to save us. When we feel bound and suppressed, our response is to leave. Because of God’s grace and mercy, we will not be dominated by the lies of the enemy. If you feel that you are being controlled and suppressed, there is a problem.
The vows of traditional weddings are similar to what God told us. There should be no other gods besides me. Before getting married, it does not matter that one has many affairs. However, on the wedding day, you have to make your decision. After the wedding, you are only mine and I only have you. When you make your wedding vows, you will not feel that your husband suppresses or controls you, instead, you will get moved with tears because you feel loved. God loves us and does everything for us. He cherishes His relationship with us.
3. Put God First
God is pleased with Abel and his sacrifice. The original word is “respect”. Why does God respect people? Is it reasonable? In a relationship, every side is equal and we cannot look down on others or look up to others. Maintaining a relationship is through love, and God feels Abel’s love.
The scripture says that what Abel offered was the firstborn of the flock. To offer the “Firstborn” in the Bible means even when he had not seen any more offspring coming, he still gave the only one he had to God, which showed his love and faith in God, so God respected Abel and his sacrifices. Can you see the loving relationship between Abel and God?
1 Kings 17:12-15
When Elijah asked the widow to make food for him, she told him that I had no bread, only a handful of flour and a little oil and I was ready to make the last meal, so I could die with my son. This was the reality, but Elijah told her, don’t be afraid, and make me bread first. Fear is the killer of relationships. The widow made bread for Elijah first, but it is impossible for us not to give our children food first.
The woman did what Elijah said. If you are a “doing” person, you will think it is because of the woman’s faith that she was blessed. But from the perspective of relationship we are talking about today, God actually knows her problem. God can provide Elijah’s other food, for example, let the crows bring him meat and He can drink from the brook to survive, but God used this woman. She and her son only had flour and oil for the last meal, and they waited to die. God sent Elijah to save them. She respected his authority and gave Elijah the last meal. Because of this, the whole family was provided with more food for longer time. Not only that, in the book of Joshua, we have learned that the story of the two spies. After Rahab saw them, she acknowledged God in front of the spies and gave testimony to the spies. She respected God and her whole family was saved. God is love, and He values the relationship between us and Him.
The message released today is for God’s children. Most of the people here have relationship problems. We are injured in relationships. We no longer believe in relationships. We don’t want to know about relationships, and what we are interested is just to do things. Even if you cherish the relationship, the relationship is not based on true love. What Jesus said, love your neighbour as yourself, but it is so hard for us to make it because we were hurt in relationships. Today we are going to restore everyone.
Many of us experience illness and financial difficulties because of the unforgiveness in relationships.
It is very important to understand the Ten Commandments. Because of the “doing” attitude, we cannot receive the love of God. Relationships bring healing. When you read Bible and you do not understand it, just focus on the love from God and feel the love from your heart. It is love that He tries to convey to us, rather than knowledge from Bible.
神 吩 咐 这 一 切 的 话 说 ：2 我 是 耶 和 华 ─ 你的 神 ， 曾 将 你 从 埃 及 地 为 奴 之 家 领 出 来 。3 除 了 我 以 外 ， 你 不 可 有 别 的 神 。
诗篇103 ：7 他使摩西知道他的法则，叫以色列人晓得他的作为。