2017-10-11 / Religion

Worship God in spirit and truth

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Exodus 20

Pagan gods are, simply, the figment of the imagination of members of our spiritually-lost human race. These personal deities can be assigned any set of qualities that the individual desires. These mentally-derived gods are powerless to speak to the worshippers, or hear the cry of one in distress. As one reads the myths that have been woven around these fake deities, these gods seem to always be angry. Their worshippers are attempting to appease this anger, as a way of obtaining some benefit for their faithfulness.

This twisted picture of adoration has no part in the worship of our Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe. When the earth, as we know it, came into existence, the highest created being was humans. These individuals were created for personal communion with the creator. When sin entered the race, this perfect communion, which was the divine intention, was lost. Even in this sad state of affairs, God, Jehovah, did not completely abandon the fallen race.

As the centuries unfolded, our loving Heavenly Father reached out to the lost race, attempting to bring it back to himself. The man, Abram, later known as Abraham, became the individual that would be the father of the Chosen Nation, Israel. Through this man’s family, our Redeemer would come.

After several centuries, the offspring of the grandson of Abraham, Jacob, were delivered from Egyptian slavery. The human that was used to bring about this deliverance was the man, Moses. The group was led “by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire,” Exodus 13:21.

Through a series of events, the group came “into the wilderness of Sinai.” Exodus 19:1. At this point, God would speak to this whole congregation. This event would take place, only after certain personal preparations had been made. Exodus 19:10-15. Up to that point, these people had only heard the words of the Lord through the men, Moses and Aaron. Their experience was about to reach a much higher level than humans had ever known.

The divine intent was for a special relationship between the individuals and Jehovah. His desire was for all of them to “be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Exodus 19:6a.

The fulfillment of this divine desire was dependent upon the personal actions of the members of the Chosen Nation.

At the time of the assembling of these people at the base of Mount Sinai, “God spake all these words.” Exodus 20:1. Thus, the first account of the Ten Commandments was in spoken words. Later, they were written on tables of stone. These commandments have not changed. The words are the moral laws that are for the benefit of mankind, not restrictions, as some people interpret them.

These people lived in a world that was steeped in idol worship. As a group, they had lived in Egypt, with its many gods. These people had been delivered out of that environment. Thus, Jehovah declared, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2. Thus, the first commandment declares, and demands, personal and national loyalty “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3.

Pagan gods are assigned many different forms. These people were not to resort to worshipping anything of human design — “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, of any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…” Exodus 20:4. God — Jehovah, the covenant name used — protects the usage of his name. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Exodus 20:7a.

The day of rest is directly addressed — “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. In our present-day society, little is seen as holy or sacred. It is to our advantage to realize the benefits that come to us, as we practice this divinely-designed pattern, whatever day is selected. Exodus 20:10, 11.

The attitude, that directs thought to the previous generation, is addressed in a direct way, "Honour thy father and thy mother.” Exodus 20:12a. This command is followed by a promise, “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12b.

The last five commands that these people heard, relate to society in general, (VI) “Thou shalt not kill;” (VII) “Thou shalt not commit adultery;” (VIII) “Thou shalt not steal;” (IX) “Thou shalt not bear false witness;” (X) “Thou shalt not covet.” The tenth command contains a direct explanation regarding the application in every-day life. See Exodus 20:13- 17.

This experience showed these people the majesty of God, and the glory of the one they served. Exodus 20:18. The sights and sounds that they witnessed struck fear in their hearts, “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:19.

The faithful leader attempted to calm the fears of the people, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” Exodus 20:20. The response of the people was immediate, “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:21.

The divine message was given to Moses, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.” Exodus 20:22, 23. Worship of Jehovah would be simple, so that anyone could come into his presence. Exodus 20:24-26.

Jesus declared, “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. This principle has never changed.

Rev. James C. Temples can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. c om

Return to top