Sometimes it can feel as if each day is simply repeating the previous. Wake, clean, take care of kids, clean, homeschool, work, clean, make food, clean again, break up a fight between kids, do laundry, then fall into bed exhausted. I do love being a mom, but when presented with the opportunity to get away for the weekend with my husband, I jumped at the chance.
The drive was glorious. Five hours of uninterrupted conversation with occasional quiet while we listened to romantic music. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed each bite. It was a much needed break and the weekend had just started.
Our little getaway included a visit with some dear friends who happen to pastor a local church. We had the pleasure of attending Sunday service, and this is where I was refreshed the most.
The pastor had begun preaching through the Ten Commandments the week prior, so that morning, we opened the text to the second commandment in Exodus 20:4-6.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
I was raised in the church and attended a Christian school, so memorizing the Ten Commandments began when I was young. Other than memorization, I’ve never really given them much thought. They are Old Testament, and it’s not like I have had a hard time determining if murder, lying, or stealing are wrong; I simply haven’t had the need to do an in-depth study.
But that day, reading these verses, I was struck by how much more there was to this commandment. In a portion of Scripture that is often synonymous with lists of dos and don’ts, the Lord reminded me of His character and the big picture.
As with many of the instructions in Scripture, here we see promises of reaping and sowing. This is where I stopped to ponder my life as well as those I have watched take different routes.
I came to know Christ in my twenties and, with my A-type personality and a quest to be a good mother, I threw 100 percent of myself into studying the Scriptures and trying to live by them. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s a tall order and it’s still an ongoing journey, but my heart’s desire was to know and please the God who loves me.
At the same time, obstinate to acknowledge sin and a need for a Savior, I have watched others refuse to be humbled. Instead, they made their own god to worship, often themselves. There’s a sadness to watching people stiffen their necks and hearts toward God usually, resulting in a difficult life that they bring upon themselves.
While the pastor expounded on the text, I noticed the cross referenced text in Leviticus 26.
You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.
If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.
I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new. I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you.
And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
I’m twenty years older now than when I first became a Christian, with three adult daughters and two teenage sons. I thoroughly enjoyed raising my children and watching them through each stage. We’ve have the normal ups and downs of most families, but we’ve also dealt with extreme financial problems, abandonment, abuse, and dangers that children should never know.
As I read this text, I am reminded of the safety and security I found in Christ. Each day He provided the necessities of life and peace of mind that no matter what we would encounter, His steadfast love would be present. I vividly remember starting each morning on my knees asking for wisdom, and as I reminisce, I see God’s hand easing the burden we carried. Over the years, the Lord made a way out for me and the kids. In the day-to-day trenches, I didn’t understand the complex plan the Lord was working out. My job was to be faithful to the day.
It’s interesting to note that in Exodus, the children and grandchildren of those who have rejected Christ are affected negatively. It’s a scary guarantee. Yet, there is no guarantee that the steadfast love of God is given to the future generations of those that love God. But I can tell you that when children watch a mother praying, crying, and trying to do her best in the midst of difficulties, they have a legacy and memories of God’s steadfast love that guides them.
That morning, I was tired. It was more than just the daily routine of life that had me down. We had seen a busy year, dealing with complex health issues, moving, a wedding, and other drama that wears on the minds. My heart was heavy. But the second commandment grabbed hold of me, brought vivid memories to my mind, and settled my heart with the reassurance that God’s steadfast love was, is, and will always be there. I do not walk alone on this earth, no matter my situation. I have the Creator of this world walking with me.