For the most part I have been enjoying these stories that are found in the Spark Story Bible. It is a great way to introduce children to the wonderful stories of our faith found in the Old and New Testaments. We certainly want to protect the innocence of children and I think this Bible does a good job of doing that, but at the same time, some stories shield them from the harsh realities of life. In my estimation, this is one of those stories. Children will learn soon enough that God’s people had and have difficulty obeying these rules to show our love for God and to teach us how-to live-in peace with our neighbors.
The Israelites have been traveling through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. They would walk and walk until they were tired and then they would set up camp. Day after day they would repeat this pattern until they came to Mount Sinai. One day following a thunderstorm, God called Moses to come up the mountain. Once there, “God said, “Moses, listen up! I have important rules for you and the people to live by. You can turn to this list to know how to love God and each other. Do your best to follow this list. It won’t be easy, but I am with you and I love you.’” God was right; it is not easy to follow this list.
The people were still scared when Moses came down from the mountain carrying the two stone tablets upon which were written the Ten Commandments. “Moses said, ‘Don’t be afraid! God has given us special rules to teach us how to live together in peace.’ Moses told the people about God’s rules, and they did their best to follow them.” That underlined statement is what I have difficulty swallowing. In no time flat, the Israelites did not just bend a rule, they broke the second commandment, namely, “There are no other gods for you, only me.” My question is: “Did they really do their best to follow these commandments?”
As soon as I pose that question, I hear it addressing me, “Alan, are you doing your best to follow Me?” In making a judgment on the Israelites, I find my own footsteps on that slippery slope. I have been remiss in keeping the Ten Commandments. Perhaps we all need to be reminded that the Israelites did their best to retain that innocence. While we are not perfect in keeping God’s laws, we may do our best to keep them, even if that means being more obedient today than we were yesterday and more obedient tomorrow than we have been today.
Dear God, we thank You for the gift of the Ten Commandments that teach us how to love You and how-to live-in peace with our neighbors. When we break Your laws, stir us to confess our sins and ask Your forgiveness. When we struggle to do what is right, give us courage and strength. Help us always to do our best to follow these rules. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.