Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stones

A recent daily devotional challenged me to read Exodus 20:1-21, which is otherwise known as The Ten Commandments. The author of the devo (Beth Moore of Breaking Free) challenged her reader to read these verses with "a fresh heart and teachable mind."

I immediately was drawn to the words "out of the house of bondage" (verse 2). "I am the Lord your God" of course is the First Commandment. However, I was reminded that just like the Israelites, God has led me out of the bondage of sin and shame of which I had been a slave in my past before I submitted to God (Romans 10:9-11).

Beth Moore then discussed an ancient boundary stone, which is similar to our modern day fence. A stone was a great visual for someone to see to remind them when they were going out of bounds. When we see a fence, we immediately stop and realize we need to turn around or we will be trespassing.

In the same way, the Ten Commandments are stones which keep us on the right track. They were erected to keep us on the straight and narrow. Crossing over leads to bondage and sin which comes from the loss of freedom. I like to think of the Ten Commandments as a reality check. I need God to check me at the door every now and then.

God, do I have other gods which I put before you? Do I worship other gods? Do I take your name in vain? Do I work on the Sabbath even though you have told me otherwise? Am I honoring my mother and father the way you command me to do? Have I murdered in my heart? Have I committed adultery in my heart? I stole time - is that a sin? Help me understand what bearing false witness is, Lord! I do not covet my neighbor's house Lord, just the treasure trove of children that bring joy to that home. Is that wrong, Lord?

And so, as always when I talk with God and open my heart, He replies. Daughter, as I spoke through Moses to the people, I now remind you as well, "Do not fear; for God (I) has (have) come to test you, and that His(My) fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." (Exodus 20:20).  personalization mine.

Thank you God. I need to be tested. I need boundaries which lead away from sin....

Unlike the people in Exodus 20:21, I do not stand far off, but today just like Moses did back in the day, I drew near Godnear enough to imagine His smile Zephaniah 3:17 and to feel Him pat me on the back in an encouraging way. Thank you, Lord.

My husband and I love to beachcomb. Whenever we visit an island in The Bahamas, we are always attracted to rocks and stones, which often are composed of leftover building material or natural material from reefs in the area. The island of San Salvador offers up beautiful rocks which are often smooth and so white one might think they would glow in the dark! This past trip, I found a large, oddly shaped rock with 1" squares of tan rock embedded on the entire surface of the rock. I held it up high for my husband to see and told him I thought it was quite unique and definitely mine for the taking.

Hesitating, my husband left his beachcoming post and I saw a scowl on his face as he approached. He asked me why two years ago when he held up the very same type of rock, that I had told him it was ugly. I explained that I did not remember him presenting that type of rock to me. "Oh, okay." He walked away and the conversation was over.

I pondered our conversation. We both now agreed it was a special rock. But, why did I once believe it to be ugly? I did not remember. That piece of earth was soon after stuffed into the engine room on the boat ready for its trip back to South Florida. It would be a reminder. It was a souvenir from the sea.

Ancient Boundary Stones
Having studied this symbol of our modern day fence today, I realized God gave us stones for a reason. Not just to become paperweights on a desk, or erected in our front yard with our house number painted for the postman, and not even to be placed in a bowl for decoration. No, stones have so much more meaning. They are to be reminders. Unlike the rock I had deemed ugly and soon forgotten, ancient boundary stones were created for a purpose. Proverbs 22:28

When we refer to the Ten Commandments (Old Testament) as the coloring book, and the New Testament as the crayons, together a beautiful picture is created. The new fulfilled the old and the picture was completed. If I only do what the Ten Commandments tell me to do, and ignore the boundaries that God has given me in His Word in the New Testament, then I have run off the road and my path becomes quite crooked (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I once again ponder verse 2 in which I am reminded that I have come out of a house of bondage. God's plan was to free me from slavery! From sin and its destructive effects. He has done that for me.

Have you allowed Him to do that for you? Romans 10:9-11. Just like the stone was rolled away when Jesus ascended to Heaven after He hung on a Cross and died for you and for me, the ancient boundary stones in your life can and will be erected where God wants them to be. Ask God today for boundaries or places in your life where you have not allowed Him to lead you. You will be surprised to know that you too will see a rock in a new way as well as the hint of a smile on the God who waits to release you from your house of bondage!!!




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