Saturday, July 14, 2007

That 'Love Thy Neighbor' Thing... (Part 1)

Today I drove by one of those "-God" billboards. You know, the billboards that have a saying on them and are "signed" by God, such as:

What part of "Thou Shalt Not..." didn't you understand?

Don't make Me come down there.

The one I passed today said:
That "Love Thy Neighbor" thing... I meant it.

And, well, it's true. It can't be denied. God meant it. It wasn't a mistake. It wasn't a slip of the tongue. Moses, after having reviewed the "Big Ten" that he had previously received on the mountain (given in Exodus 20, reviewed in Deuteronomy 5), went on to further proclaim the word of the Lord:

4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:4-9)

Well, how ya doing so far on those "shall's?"

As we read through Leviticus, we find more commandments! Yay, more commandments! LOTS of 'em. In Leviticus 19:18 we find the commandment that says, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

The two commandments mentioned above are the "Top Two," according to Jesus. ALL the Law and the Prophets hang on them, He says (scripture below).

So, again, how ya doin'? If you're a good Christian, I think there's probably no worries, eh!

"Well, I try to put God first in my life. I try to give of my firstfruits. I pray and read my Bible. I try to help others when I can."

Maybe you're even better than that!

"God is absolutely Number 1 in my life! Nothing comes before God! I give ten percent of my income and also give multiple love offerings! I've memorized all kinds of scriptures so I always have the word of the Lord in my heart! I witness to all my friends and neighbors and all those I work with! I volunteer of my time to help less fortunate people and I really have done my best, since I've become a Christian, to keep all of God's commandments!"

Wow, that's pretty amazing! I mean, if you're doing your best to fulfill them, especially the "Big Two," then you must be pretty darn happy with yourself!

After being asked by a lawyer who was among the Pharisees and Sadducees, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?", Jesus answered:

"'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matt 22:37-40)

If you're keeping those - that is, if you're loving God and loving others - God must be pretty impressed with you, huh! After all, He commanded it!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

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