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The Ho-hum So Dumb Who Cares Bunch of
By: Rachelle Hamlin
Oh, you think there are ten of them? A myth. No, what happened on Mount Sinai between Moses and God was that God let Moses see Him and while the people were making merry (having refused to follow Moses to the mountaintop) God wrote something in a Mystery on stone tablets that would be like one of those time capsules people bury in the corner of new buildings. The stones contained fragments of what life can be if one is not too proud to follow HIM up to the mountaintop of Earthly existence. Put simply, they are a roadmap for us that explains why God put us on Earth. But you gotta know how to read the scribbles on the map “if you want to get theyah from heyah.”
A kid’s game called Simon Says has kids looking at the teacher and they need sharp ears. They must only do what Simon says. Sometimes it’s not Simon who said it! Oops! That person is out. Some teachers think it’s all about exercise. Some are teaching kids to follow directions or training them to pay attention to the spoken word. Others just want to have a good time. Giving the tablets of stone was like God playing Simon Says with us. It is not clear from the Mosaic text precisely what the Great One had in mind but we can tell it was a profound message -- to us --and the message remains misunderstood.
Like any good mystery, there is just enough known about the subject to capture the attention of the curious, the inquisitives. So through the many years since Moses, these people have chipped away at the stone tablets, seeking to find the wisdom behind the clues in Moses’ two readings of the law. Over years Jews and Christians came up with several simple versions of the Ten Commandments and we like it that way. When we read the text in the Old Testament, it is way more complex and mysterious.
Jesus simplified them when he told the rich young ruler what he had to do to be saved. He only referenced parts of God’s commands in a true story from Mark Ch. 10. “You know the commandments. ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” He poured seven of the commandments into a thimble just that fast. The young man went away confused and unhappy. He had kept those all his life, but the large portion that deals with our relationship with God was too much for him to consider.
Americans are divided into two groups. Some, who don’t want to accept the commands as Divine Law, know only too well that the little directives they contain would take them where they do not want to go. The other group likes it just the way it is: mysterious and unattainable as written, especially the part that describes our duties towards God. It would be easier for a Mazda to fit in a baby stroller than for a Christian to take all ten of them seriously. Seriously, how often are we defrauding, testifying, honoring parents or considering murder?
As a roadmap they just don’t merit being taken seriously. It’s like saying Miami, Orlando, Tifton, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Hartford, when you’ve never been there and don’t want to take the trip. So some Americans say “get them out of here” and others don’t bother to consider the fact that the real Moses got these from the real God, our maker and lover, during an amazing miracle witnessed to by the entire dispossessed nation of Jews.
A Bible study group I attended once a week studied the Ten Commandments from scripture for going on two years and we only got about halfway through them when a death changed our situation and the group disbanded. One thing became clear. The entire Bible is about the principles contained in that event on the mountain. The tablets contained a map to the greatest treasure mankind can achieve, namely union with God and all others in absolute Love, attainable Love. Both categories of Americans, the rejecters and the acceptors, honestly want what God gave on the Mount. It’s a sorry condition to be in when our nation either rejects or ignores the gift that will satisfy their deepest longings. I mean, we have it. We just don’t want it. We want to be where it’s going but we don’t want to take the train.
Sometimes I think that everybody wants to be a boss, or rich, or in charge of how things go. Come to think about it, that’s what the rich, young, ruler was! He was the man of the hour! He had everything he wanted. Then he saw a man who had more than he had. He wanted that too but he couldn’t imagine that God had provided a roadmap that would strip him of his riches, his power and his authority to determine outcomes… namely, the first three parts of the “10” commandments. He’d have to abandon his own ideas and make Jesus the boss.
In God’s plan we all arrive as beggars at the gate of a universal system in which Jesus rules as King. I met a little boy this week who told me he wanted to be a baby again. I was quite surprised at that idea. Yet maybe Jesus was right when he said that unless we were like little children we could not enter the Kingdom of God.
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