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REFLECTIONS ON THE GOODNESS OF GOD
By Henry Jaegers
Recently, a pastor friend of mine gave me a copy of the book that he wrote on the Ten Commandments. He did a marvelous job of making application and giving the explanation to these Ten Words from God. This morning I had one of those restless times when only spending time in meditating on God's word could satisfy this inner craving. As I contemplated the message of my friend’s book, the thoughts arose in my mind, “what is there in the great words of God that my pastor friend did not reflect upon?” That brings me to my present thoughts. How could Ten Commandments fully reflect the great love of God? Most people see these commandments as restrictive and harsh; the reason for this is because our limited understanding keeps us from knowing how His commandments reflect a characteristic of God that fully escapes our ability to comprehend.
Jesus explained these commandments as being two commandments. The first is loving the Lord thy God with all thy strength and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. There is a problem with the second part at the outset because, humanly speaking, we are a people who are born intrinsically selfish. Very often selfishness is masqueraded as a virtue. We call it survival, or being a go-getter or being ambitious. Any means by which we take to arrive at our goals reflects as being virtuous and characteristics to be desired. Success is promised by God in Joshua 1:8, but the success promised is the success given by God with the means to that success given by God as well. We are to meditate, understand, grow in our knowledge of the word of God so that we may fully digest His plan for true success.
No man can fully understand anything about God unless God tells him. We cannot fish ideas out of our minds and imaginations and conclude that what we are speaking is truth. There is such a thing as sanctified imagination, I believe that but it is thoughts that come through understanding God's purposes and love for us. That brings us to the Ten Commandments. The idea of them being commandments suggests to our fallen minds that God must be a tyrant, trying to restrict our freedoms and placing us under some kind of bondage. Conversely, that is not their intention. When we look closely at these commandments we see a holiness and perfection that man is incapable of keeping. They are meant to be that way. They are not a multiple- choice selection that we can arbitrarily choose which ones we should follow. James chapter 2 verse 10 tells us whoso keeps the whole law and yet offends in one point, he is guilty of all. You don't have to break all 10 Commandments, you just need to break one and this perfect summarization of God's goodness is destroyed. Like D. James Kennedy explained in his book Evangelism Explosion, that God's passing grade is 100%. Unlike our school teachers, he does not grade on the curve. The 10 Commandments are s a picture of God's perfection and to break one of them is to break them all.
There is another way of viewing these commandments. It is like a parent who has our goodness and protection in mind when they give us rules to live by. They do not want us to experience the burdens of failure. If we are willingly compliant with the rules and understand their love, those rules are our source of guidance and protection. However, if we tend to be rebellious and think of ourselves, the enforcement of them because of disobedience will be that much harsher. So, we must see God as a loving father who understands and knows all about the pitfalls of life and has set his rules in order that we may not have to experience them. There are many things that our Christian experience that will take place and help us to more fully understand God's love.
As we venture into a more detailed study of these great commandments of God, hopefully, it will help us to more fully understand that God's ways, God's timing, and God's provision are always perfect. When we choose to disobey these precepts, we are rebelling against the greatest father that we could ever hope to have.
As we close this introductory message on God's goodness, I wonder if there is someone within the reach of this message who has never realized the fact that God loves you. I have talked to many people who have confessed that the light of salvation began when they realized, for the first time, that God loves them. In the book of Isaiah, we see the prophet called to a people whose eyes are blind and whose ears are blocked to knowing about God, but as we continue in that book we find, despite men's hardness of heart, these words “but His hand is outstretched still”. God never gives up in loving us no matter how we have treated Him. Is there someone today who will respond to that outstretched arm of love and find forgiveness from your sin and a whole new purpose for living? Will you respond to His love?
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