Black & White (Exodus 22:20)

“Whoever sacrifices to any god, 

other than the Lord alone,

shall be devoted to destruction.”

God doesn’t mince words, does he?

One of Roger and my delights when we are in Blue Ridge is having time in the word together. In Orlando, the collision of schedules keeps us from it, but when we are “office-ing” here, we have more control over time and priorities.

We’re reading in Exodus, about the law, and it has invoked some spirited discussions. This verse impressed me.

A few weeks ago a speaker talked about the rich young ruler and how Jesus asked him to sell everything in order to be saved. He made the point that Jesus doesn’t ask everyone to sell everything — it was just this one person because it was what he relied on for his identity. It was his god.

What do I worship? What do I need to “sell” in order to seek Jesus?

I realized my identity is wrapped up with my independence. My basic goals in life, my greatest life lessons, are wrapped in developing who I am and providing for my own needs. Being independent, not needing others, even giving to others from my independence became a god I was sacrificing my time and energy to.

I smile because God certainly has chipped away at that one! Between a broken leg and cancer, I sure have become dependent. Walking with a walker, having others open doors and get me a glass of water, not being able to fulfill responsibilities in my volunteer work, has certainly made me dependent. I think about the idol-goddess Athena that they found face down in her temple — through all of this, God has caused me to fall face down and worship him.

“Shall be devoted to destruction.” 

Harsh words. In those days, it may have meant stoned. It meant life or death.

For us, we don’t stone these days, but as we devote ourselves to other gods, it does lead to destruction. Independence so easily leads to isolation and pride. The “black and whiteness” of this scripture underlines the importance of worshipping God alone.

What might God might ask you to “sell” so that you could worship him?

Feel free to leave comments. If you want it private, say so in the comment and I won’t post it. Let’s pray together that we can worship the Lord with a pure heart.

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