“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance…”

-St. Augustine

Last week I discussed the importance of the Old Testament. I talked about how the Old Testament is more than a book of history. Instead, the Old Testament is, first, about the failure of mankind to live up to the standards which God commanded and, second, it’s about how much God truly cares about us. This week I would like to give an example of these premises through one of the most important and significant stories found in the Old Testament. The story of the Ten Commandments. Now, as I was studying and praying about what to write for this post, I came to the conclusion that I should do something a little different in order to get my point across.

While I was in my undergraduate program for theology, I had many wonderful professors that helped me and guided me toward a stronger relationship with God as well as a better understanding of Him. One of these life changing professors introduced me to a Bible teacher named Ray Vanderlaan. Vanderlaan is a reformed minister and teacher in the United States and with the help of a popular Christian organization called Focus on the Family, he created a fantastic Bible teaching series that centers on teaching the principles within the Bible through a contextual understanding. In this series, Vanderlaan created a video about the importance of the Ten Commandments not only to their original audience, the Jews, but also to Christians. I love this video and have watched it many times. So, instead of writing about the importance of the Ten Commandments this week, I shall instead let Ray Vanderlaan show you through his video. Please click the “CLICK HERE” link below the image. I pray that it speaks to each of you as it has spoken to me:

ten_commandments

CLICK HERE

 

For those of you who do not have the time to watch a 30 min. video, I shall give you a brief summary of what Vanderlaan teaches.

Summary

  • The Ten Commandments are more than just rules and requirements, they are, in fact, wedding vows.
  • Throughout scripture, God constantly calls His people His bride and calls Himself our Husband. (Ezekiel 16:8-14, Jeremiah 31:31-33, Isaiah 54:5, Ephesians 5:25-33, Revelation 19:7-9)
  • In Judaism, there are four elements that must be present at a wedding:
    • A canopy under which the bride and groom are married – This is a representation of the covering of God over the union of two people joined in marriage.
      • Mt. Sinai equivalent– God covered the mountain where the Ten Commandments were being given with his glory (Exodus 19:17-19)
    • A ceremonial cleansing — This is to represent the purification of oneself before the bond of marriage is made.
      • Mt. Sinai equivalent– God told the people of Israel to cleanse themselves before they received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:10-14)
    • A written marriage agreement – this is the equivalent of marriage vows in today’s context.
      • Mt. Sinai Equivalent– the Ten Commandments represent a written agreement between God and the people of Israel. (Exodus 20:1-17)
    • A tangible expression of the bond made in marriage – This is similar to the wedding rings common at today’s weddings.
      • Mt. Sinai Equivalent– God told Israel that they must keep the Sabbath as an expression of the remembrance of the events that occurred at Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 31:16-17)
  • As Christians, through Christ, we have become a part of this marriage, for united, we are the bride of Christ.

If you have time, I encourage you to watch or at least listen to the video from Ray Vanderlaan as he goes into more detail than I have about the importance of the events at Mt. Sinai. No matter if you agree with the teaching of Vanderlaan or not, one must still recognize not only the importance of the events at Mt. Sinai to Jews and Christians, alike, but one must also recognize that the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow has always loved His people. He has never simply wanted to be our ruler, He has always wanted to be our lover.

In John 14, Jesus Christ talks about what it means to have God as our lover. He tells His disciples that God will provide for them what they need, He will comfort them, and He will always be with them. Yet in return, He simply asks that we obey Him. As Ray VanderLaan says, obedience is God’s love language. Yet, how do we do this? First, we must recognize that, like the people in the Old Testament, we will never be able to fully obey what God has asked of us. We are completely depraved. Yet, God through His unconditional love for His bride, sent us His son so that, through Him, we may align our hearts with the heart of God and completely surrender to Him. And when we do this, we may find peace through our surrender, in the provision and fulfillment of God’s will in our lives. His will is for His bride to be as in love with Him as He is in love with us. Therefore, as the followers of Christ and lovers of God we must recognize that our relationship with Him has been and always will be a relationship centered on love. Our relationship with God is not one of a ruler and pauper, but one of a husband and wife.

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