Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Ten Commandments and Heart Idolatry

From our lesson in the How People Change Sunday School class today (emphases mine):

The Ten Commandments may not be where you would expect to find this emphasis on the centrality of the heart, but it is there if you look carefully. The first three commands focus on what or whom you worship. They are a condemnation of making anything besides God your god! The order of the commands is important because our real problem is not our circumstances but our tendency towards idolatry. We have problems obeying commands four through ten because we have already broken commands one through three.

Consider the Israelites' situation. Their journey to the Promised Land was filled with trials, temptations, enemies, and suffering. And yet these realities were not of utmost importance to God. What was most significant to him was his peoples' heart devotion. He knew that the real war was being fought in the heart of every person who had been rescued from slavery in Egypt.

Look at the rest of the commandments. Why do you -- and others -- fail to keep them?
  • Make God central in your worship and work (fourth commandment)
  • Honor parents and those in authority (fifth commandment)
  • Love, serve and forgive others (sixth commandment)
  • Maintain sexual purity (seventh commandment)
  • Freely and joyfully share your resources with others (eighth commandment)
  • Speak truthfully in ways that help others (ninth commandment)
  • Rejoice in the blessings of others (tenth commandment)
The structure of the Ten Commandments teaches us that we fail to do these things because something is wrong inside us, not outside us. We wrap our hearts around something other than the living God and believe the lie that without that something, whatever it is, life is meaningless.
How People Change Workbook, 8.5-8.6

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