The Law in Essence
The Law in Essence
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
Before we take the plunge into the depths of this ocean of God’s Self-revelation called the Ten Commandments, bear in mind that no matter how deep we proceed, we’ll never hit the bottom. And God has effectively begun His injunction by taking us to the deepest point of all, to the very bedrock upon which all human life and morality rests. While the last nine of these rules relate to our thinking and doing, this first commandment relates to His Being—the Wellspring of all thought and action.
“I am the LORD,” writes Moses, and that’s the pivotal starting point. We can’t learn Who God is until we’ve grasped the simple, fundamental reality that God is. God is, even if we disregard Him. God is, even if we don’t like what He says. God is, even when the nations rage and economies collapse and men rebel. God is, even when devils lie and Goliaths boast and Pharaohs strike. See, for us it probably sounds so simplistic, but the majority of people in our world today don’t understand what it means that God is regardless of what they say or do or think. And without understanding that right thinking and right action—i.e. laws 2-10—are merely ways for us as image-bearing creations to participate in our Creator’s everlasting Being, then what follows is just another set of pious platitudes and golden rules that we can pick and choose as we please. And that’s the farce of secular humanism still rampant today by the way. The notion that we can extrapolate the thinking and doing from the Bible while eliminating the Being from which these inextricably flow.
“I am the LORD your God,” Moses continues. And that’s the best part of all, isn’t it? God doesn’t just exist out there, somewhere in the far reaches of the universe, outside the bounds of time, space, and corporeal constraints, but He’s with us today, in our hearts, in our joys and sorrows, in our strengths and weaknesses, in the crevices of our common lives. And His presence with us is not an exception to the rule either. It’s the substance of it!