I-Hear O' Israel! He alone is the Lord, our God, he who brought us from the Bondage in Egypt-we shall have NO other!
II-We shall take NO other before him, to make images of false gods, these idols, to bow down to and worship in place of Him!
III-Nor will we abuse the use of His holy name.
IV-We will observe and keep holy the day of Sabbath.
V-We will honour those as have been set by Him as our earthly parents.
VI-We will not commit murder.
VII-We will not commit adultery.
VIII-We will not steal from another.
IX-We will not bear false witness against another.
X-We will not covet that which is the right of another.
An Examination of the First:
Yesterday as I went about my Sunday, I tuned the TV to a History Channel program about Biblical disasters. I could not help but take issue with something discussed in the program, a dispute about whether or not the Israelites were actually being held in bondage.
HUH?? When even today man, woman, and child are being abused on an ever increasing scale in forced labour, and the call to fight the scourge of slavery is being trumpeted from the pages of every civilized nation's news sources, I was frankly astonished to hear educated men and women questioning the veracity of the whole Israelites in bondage to Egypt thing. I mean, if you consider it for a moment, it forms the very basis for the One God thing, doesn't it?
Scroll back up to the top (a small hint-you are looking for the one printed in bold italics...) and read the words of the First Commandment. Now, if there was no bondage, how is this very first issue of the Law valid?
Not to digress, but how terribly (and I DO mean terribly) convenient for anyone wanting to destroy the very fabric of faith!
OK, so Yahweh leads us from the forced labour camps of Egypt. And after the plagues, the people of Egypt are so very glad to see the Israelites depart that they line the streets and throw money, provisions, and even the jewelry from their bodies.
Having been in what amounted to bondage in this lifetime, in this country, I think I have some understanding of what defines slavery-keeping someone economically crippled to render that someone unable to leave, and reinforcing the economic crippling with threats of further economic assault (as in "If you try to leave I will make sure when you do you will not have so much as a pot to urinate into...") and threats against the health and welfare of the someone's loved ones. American slave holders in the antebellum days routinely separated families in an effort to eliminate the emotional strength of physical unity with loved ones in addition to the extra cash selling off slaves brought in. Today Massa threatens health benefits, wages (oops, didn't God say something about cheating servants of their wages?), and the mental peace required to spend quality time with one's family-hard to focus on the family hour if one's employer is constantly threatening to fire one if one doesn't focus 24/7 for the employer-crikey's, what a vicious cycle that is! And is the textbook definition of slavery.
Right. The Egyptians controlled the lives of God's Chosen, and they weren't very nice about it. Please DO NOT take my word for it, look up the digs near the pyramids that yielded the information that the lives of the labour forces building the damn things really bit-HARD.
Archeological evidence indicates those poor souls suffered terribly, and with the exception of a lucky few, were NOT given adequate diets, housing, or medical attention.
Hey, sounds like bondage to me-someone kept those people from the FREEDOM to attend personal needs...
Then God sends Moses. Through Moses, God lets Pharaoh know He is less than impressed with the treatment His children have endured at the hands of Egypt, and He warns Pharaoh ahead of time that if Pharaoh does not let the people go there will be serious hell to pay.
Fast Forward: we all know what happened.
So. Now the Israelites (us, in case you missed that. Technically, some of us are Jews, true. But I am thinking symbolically here. Come on, try to stretch yourself some, huh? Or would you prefer to let your mind atrophy because you don't want to be giving some credit where it is due by telling yourself that God gave you a working mind for a reason...) are free of the forced labour-free to attend their wounds, free to come or go, free to make their own choices about their destiny.
Now. I ask you, how in the name of freedom, a mighty precious gift that unfortunately less and less of the population are willing to appreciate until it is gone, can you possibly want to have anyone else for a god than the cat who reached down His hand and brought you out of slavery???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Who gave us the freedom to choose how we would live our lives-including the freedom to reject His love, guidance, advice...and who promised that He would NEVER take away that freedom, even if in not doing so, we were therefore free to commit horrific acts against each other. He did however, warn us that should we turn our faces away from His gifts, He would turn away from the sight of our transgressions, and leave us to our own devices.
It seems a no-brainer to me. He set us free, he gave us a Law so perfect that if everyone followed it, the world really would be reasonably fair and safe. He has ALWAYS kept His promise not to take our freedom to choose away from us. Sounds like God to me.
He alone is the Lord-even Jesus refused to accept anything more than the title of His child-and there simply is no other. Scary as it can be sometimes, He who gave us our freedom is my Lord. To Him and Him alone to I ascribe the fealty of my soul.