Tag Archives: The Ten Commandments

Dare to Stand…

Watch your wordsThis week, while subbing in a public high school, I sat and listened to two seniors exclaiming over a senior project. It was a slideshow of all the seniors, showing their lives throughout their school years—quite a project, and well done, I might add.

However, as I heard the Lord’s name over and over again, a phrase of exclamation with no thought to God, I prayed for wisdom.  We “just happened” to be in the same room; I wasn’t teaching them. Finally, I went to them, sat and looked at the project with them, exclaiming what a great job she had done.  Then I asked them if they realized how many times they had used that God-dishonoring phrase.  They sheepishly said, “No,” and then asked me how many times.  (As though I was counting!) I said that I didn’t know, but then read Exodus 20: 7 and briefly talked to them about it, hoping for an open door.  Amazingly or not so amazingly, the phone rang just at that time! Curse the god of this world!!!

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;

for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

I talked with them a little bit afterwards but didn’t sense an open door.

What would you have done? I don’t really know these girls. I’m thankful for the rapport that I have with the students, but it seems to be more and more difficult to speak to them about spiritual matters. So many thoughts went through my mind:

  1. Just leave it alone. They don’t even know you, and you don’t want to push them away from God.
  2. They’ll think you’re some sort of religious freak.
  3. Just pray for someone else to enter their lives and challenge them—someone they know.
  4. Coward!
  5. If you don’t tell them, who will?

The last argument won out, and here’s why:

At times, when I’m teaching piano lessons, a student will play something incorrectly.  It may be just a little thing and I’m tempted to overlook it; but this thought goes through my mind: How will they learn if you don’t tell them that it’s wrong?  Seems like a no-brainer.

How much more serious is taking the Lord’s name in vain! Not learning how a phrase of music should sound will not affect that student’s eternal soul, but vainly using God’s name will!  Take another look at the verse, especially the second line:

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;

for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

GUILTY IN THE FACE OF GOD! That’s pretty serious.  Satan laughs as EVERYONE, even professing Christians, vainly spew forth this phrase or its abbreviation. (This is another of my pet peeves.  If I write PA on an envelope, everyone knows it stands for Pennsylvania.  It’s not weaker, not even a substitute—IT MEANS THE SAME AS ‘PENNSYLVANIA!’ So, isn’t the same true for THAT God-dishonoring phrase?)  Students are never corrected about this phrase.  They will be rebuked for the “four letter words,” but glibly using God’s name goes unchecked.  Even the teachers interject God’s name into their comments. It’s just another word, but is it? I think the little clue that is given for kids to remember the Commandment Number Three, is pretty effective.  Hold up three fingers, trace the ‘W’ you see, and remind yourself to WATCH YOUR WORDS!

The God of the Impossibe

Exodus 4:2-4

And the LORD said unto him, “What is that in thine hand?

And he said, “A rod.”

And he said, “Cast it on the ground.”

And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

And the LORD said unto Moses, “Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.

And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand

Do you serve the God of the Impossible?  I love this little slice of reality in Moses’ life.  Even though Cecil B. Demille makes it look as though the burning bush incident happened only a short time after he left Egypt, it was forty years later. The actual time line of Moses’ life falls into forties: forty years in Egypt, forty years in Midian, and forty years in the wilderness leading the Israelites.

God has just spoken to Moses of His mission, and Moses is telling God all the reasons why it won’t work! This is the first of two signs that God gives Moses to convince the Israelites that he is God’s man.

Do you like snakes?  Would you like to pick one up…by the tail?  Anyone who handles snakes knows that you don’t pick up a snake by the tail! Actually, common sense would tell you not to pick up a snake by its tail.  It’s sort of like grabbing a cat by the tail, except the results could be deadly! We don’t know what kind of snake it was, but whatever the type, Moses ran from it.

However, there is no break in the action: God tells him to pick up the snake by the tail and Moses does it. Faith: Forsaking All, I Trust Him!  Forsaking all commons sense, I do what He commands.

What is the impossible thing in your life?  Impossible things can be personal struggles with bad habits or sins; or, they can involve someone else, whose actions are affecting your life. Circumstances involving finances, relationships, attitudes, wrong choices: they all can create impossible situations in our lives, and we come to God begging Him to do SOMETHING!

But first, perhaps He is asking you, “What is in thy hand?”  What is it that you are clutching so tightly that God wants to use to do the impossible?  You see, if you are in control, then God is not.  He wants to do the impossible, but so often, we must hand over the reins before He can do it.

It may be so impossible, that you only laugh, like Sarah: having a child at the age of ninety? IMPOSSIBLE!  Can you believe God for the impossible?  Can you allow Him to teach you through the impossible? Will you hand EVERYTHING over to Him so that He can do the impossible?  Are you willing to wait for Him to do the impossible on His timeline and not yours? You can be guaranteed that any great accomplishment for God started with an impossible idea. Never think that God cannot do it.  If it is HIS will, it can be done!

Later, Moses will stand at the Red Sea and say, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”  (Exodus 14:13) It’s always a great joy when God just does the impossible.  They stood and watched as God parted the Red Sea.  OOOh! Ahhh! Wow!  Isn’t God awesome!  He’s doing the impossible!

Sometimes though, He asks a price to do the impossible, as perhaps you read in “Wet Feet.”  Will you do it? WARNING: it will cost you something.  Think about Moses, reaching out his hand, keeping an eye on that serpent’s fangs dripping with venom; and yet he trusted God to do the impossible, so that when he stood before the people and he stood before Pharaoh, he was ready once again to trust the God of the Impossible