Can you imagine my husband’s response if I said to him, “That picture you found of me with another man, well, he and I have a special relationship and I keep his picture with me all the time so I can look at him and be encouraged. We walk together, dance together, dine together, email each other, chat on the phone and just enjoy spending time together – but don’t worry, Sweetheart, I love you.”
I can imagine his response. Divorce. He is jealous.
Can you imagine Mighty God’s response after He led His chosen people out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea for them, and fed them in the wilderness for forty years and they said to Him, “Well, God, no offense – but we like these wooden idols the nations around us have made. We know they aren’t alive or real, but we want to worship them so we will fit in. Not to worry, Mighty God, we still love You.”
God was offended. He is jealous.
Christians today are quick to produce New Testament verses about Jesus’ love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness, all of which are true. But the life-building foundations of the Old Testament are just as valid today as they were more than 2,000 years ago. Jesus said He came to “fulfill” the Old Testament – not destroy it.
Jesus further validated the Old Testament in Luke 10:27 when he agreed with a quote from Exodus and Deuteronomy. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
God commanded in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
We excuse our way around that commandment. “I don’t read the Bible. It’s too hard to understand.” “I don’t attend church. It’s full of hypocrites.” “Sunday’s the only day I have to spend with my family.” “I’m too busy for God now. I’ll make all the money I can for my retirement, then serve God.” “I can’t tell anyone else about God – I wouldn’t know what to say.” “How can I believe in God when bad things happen in the world?” “How can I believe in God when bad things happen to good people?”
There are some questions that not even the most brilliant Christian can answer. We live in a sin-blighted world and because of sin – bad things happen everywhere and to everyone. We need to loose the excuse, whatever it is, and center our lives on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who loved us so much that He died so that our bad could be forgiven.
Imagine Jesus failing to loose the excuse. “Father, I think I’ll put off dying on the cross today and go back to Samaria. A lot of people got saved after I talked to the woman at the well.” “Father, it’s too nice a day to die. I’ll go fishing with Peter.” “Father, people I love will mock me, spit on me, slap me around, pound thorns into my head, cut my back to shreds with whips, nail my hands and feet to a rough wooden cross like I was criminal, and hoist me into the air, naked and bleeding to die in shame. I’m not ready for that yet.”
The price for our salvation has been paid in full. Jesus can’t do more. He’s done it all. It’s time for us to loose the excuse, put God first in our lives, and quit serving the idols of this world – fame, fortune, success, sex, pleasure, entertainment – and serve the Mighty God of the universe Who can speak calmness into the storms in our lives.