Monthly Archives: April 2023



Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14

People hate to be treated unfairly. Whether by our family, our friends or even our bosses at work, we are outraged by injustice. In every country in the world there is injustice and in some countries more than others. Wherever people use their power and authority to oppress other people, injustice happens. Even our law courts do not always provide justice because they depend on how clever the lawyers are at interpreting the law.

God also hates injustice. He punished His people severely for being unjust towards one another. He always wanted them to remember that they were once a homeless people, strangers in a foreign land, first in Canaan and then in Egypt. As soon as they forgot, they began to treat each other unkindly and to be cruel to the strangers in their land.

In Psalm 98:14, the writer praises God because His government is based on righteousness, justice, love, and faithfulness. Just imagine how happy we would be if the country we live in were based on these four qualities.

There are many places in Scripture that show us how God’s justice works. Moses gave Pharaoh God’s message that he was to let His people go free. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses, and he hardened his heart against God. Every time he refused to obey, God sent another plague to destroy Egypt. The Bible tells us that Pharaoh hardened his heart five times and five times God sent plagues on the land.

Then something terrible happened. Since Pharaoh had chosen to disobey God five times, when His message came through Moses the sixth time, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. He had chosen to disobey God and now God gave him what he wanted. He was not able to obey God because he had made his choice not to listen. Five times God hardened his heart. Isn’t that perfectly just?

God has given us His laws to protect us from harming ourselves. He wants us to be happy, safe, and free inside the “fences” of His laws. When we ignore His rules, there will be consequences which hurt us. Like little children, we need someone wiser that we are to protect us from making the foolish choices that will destroy us.

God has given us a very wonderful but also a dangerous gift called “free will”. He tells us that, by obeying His rules, we will always be safe but, if we choose to disobey Him, there will be consequences which will be painful for us and will take us down a way in which we will be punished for doing wrong.

When we choose not to listen to God and we experience the things He warned us about, He is being perfectly just by allowing us to suffer for our disobedience. He will always give us what we choose. If we choose to obey Him, He will give us the joy of fellowship with Him.



“Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. “ 1 John 2:15, 17

Satan attacks us on two fronts. He comes at us directly from the outside through people and circumstances, illness, conflict, persecution, treachery, injustice, financial constraints etc. W know where these things come from but, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can use these trials to grow our trust in God and to build character – perseverance and hope, as James encourages us to do. We may not always understand what is happening, but we can be sure that God will give us grace to help us overcome the tests and not become angry or bitter.

We don’t always recognise the more subtle approach of the devil, to entice us to satisfy our natural human appetites and desires. We are physical beings who experience the world through our senses. We get pleasure through what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. In this way we connect with the world around us. God made us to enjoy the pleasures of our senses but…

Satan wants to trick us into spending so much time enjoying the pleasures of our world that these things eat away at our desire for the presence of God and the lasting pleasures of His kingdom. The difference between the pleasures that the world offers and the pleasures of fellowship with God is that worldly pleasures require more to satisfy us, while the pleasure of walking with Jesus is lasting.

Another problem is that, because worldly pleasures demand more to get satisfaction that does not last, we soon become addicted to things which master us, destroy us and then we land up on the garbage dump and Satan laughs because he has got his way. We only wake up when we are hooked.

The Bible has a lot to say about the shortness of life. We are like a vapour that is here for a moment and then gone; like flowers that bloom today and are thrown away tomorrow; like a blip on the radar screen of time. We only have that tiny moment in which to plot our course for eternity. Seventy or eighty years, or even a hundred and twenty, pass by like a flash of lightning and then we are gone, but our choice is made, and our course set forever. 

Our appetites develop according to what we eat. Give a child only junk food and he will refuse vegetables. The key is to eat the right food until we develop an appetite for it. If we choose to “feed” on Jesus long enough by eating His word and spending time with Him, our appetite for Him will grow. The more we look at the beauty of Jesus through His word, the more we are attracted to Him and lose our appetite for the world.



“You shall not covet…” Exodus 20:17

The tenth commandment creates a problem for us. All the other commandments are measurable and observable, but the last one focuses on our hearts. Only God can see what goes on in our hearts. One rabbi said that the Tenth Commandment was not a command but a reward.  If you have measured up to the other nine, you will be so content that you will have no need to covet. It’s a matter of the heart.

The Bible teaches us that there are three levels to sin: iniquity, sin and transgression. In the Hebrew, the word “iniquity” means, “Whatever your eye hooks to, multiplies.” This is a principle that speaks of our whole life.  Whatever we focus on dominates us. Sin begins in the heart, lusting after things that we focus on.

Sin is a step beyond iniquity. We are enticed by lust for what the eye has hooked to. This leads on to the third level, transgression, which is crossing the boundary into doing what God has forbidden. In the Old Testament you could not be punished for iniquity or sin but only for transgressing the law.

“…The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. Isaiah gives us a picture of God’s grace which goes all the way back to what started in our heart. God’s standards also go back to what is in our hearts.  According to Deut 6:10-12, it is critical that we acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God and that we should be content with it. The best life is appreciating what God has given us instead of wanting what God has given some else.

God has given us each an inheritance. We need to ask God to show us what our boundaries are, not ask for more. We need to walk into what God has already given us. Contentment is something that cannot be bought.

If coveting is seeing some else’s life and wanting it, not coveting is being content with our own lives. To be content with our own life, we need to find our being in God. When we buy into the best life that God has given us, there are no slavedrivers. We are living with dignity, and we are treating others with dignity, and showing the world what God is like. It leaves us in a state of contentment which it is a reward and keeps us from a life of always wanting more.

To covet is to turn our backs on what God has given us and walk towards what God has given someone else.  Then we sit around and wonder why we can’t find our purpose. How awesome would it be if we could be content with all the unimaginable blessing God has showered on us. We have a choice. We can either be content with God’s goodness and kindness or have a life of endless jealousy, pressure, anxiety, and slavedrivers.



“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour” Exodus 20:16

This command appears to be straightforward. “Don’t tell lies about other people,” but God’s intention goes much deeper than that. In Egyptian society there was terrible injustice because the Egyptians used false witnesses to get their own way. In the community of God’s people, God wanted justice for everyone.

This commandment is not so much about gossip, slander or starting rumours as it is about restoring humanity to people who obey God so that other nations would see God in them.

Behind the commandment not to lie is the Hebrew concept of darkness and light. We all have has a “yetzer harah”, an inclination to be greedy and selfish and to serve ourselves, not caring how we make other people feel. The “yetzer harah”, which they called “the evil eye” was anything that unravelled completion, and the “yetzer tov” – the eye of light – was anything that restored completion. If my words unravel completion, then it is darkness. What restores completion is light.

According to Genesis 1:14, God created the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day to determine time and seasons. How were the days measured in the first three days without them?

 Before the creation of physical light, there was second light – Genesis 1:3 – “And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” The literal Hebrew translation is “Let Him who is the light shine.” There are two kinds of light, a physical light that allows me to see physical things and a second light that comes out of God, outside of space and time, out of spirit and has nothing to do with how we see or how we measure time.  It is a force that affects the way we live. It is a force that changes what we believe; that makes it not okay to kill, lie, steal etc.  Light is a force that brings things together, that reveals who God is and the best way to live, that holds the universe together. Jesus is that light.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. John 1:4 (a commentary on Genesis 1) tells us that Jesus is the light that came into the world to bring completion to us where darkness and disarray have unravelled our lives, Light reveals, a lie hides or twists the truth. A lie is the opposite of light so, to bear false witness is to bring harm and darkness to the other person and to yourself. A lie tears us apart because it goes against what holds the universe together.  A lie is a purposeful intent to deceive; a lie hides the truth.

Light frees us to be more complete; a lie creates slavery. The purpose of the Ten Commandments was to get us out of slavery. If a lie keeps going long enough it mingles with the person’s being and destroys him because he cannot distinguish between lies and the truth.



“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God…”  Ex 20:7

What does it mean to walk in the name of God? 

God gave His “Ten Commandments” to a group of slaves who had trouble relating to Him and to one another because they were used to be controlled and abused by their slavedrivers. They had no dignity or humanity.  God had to restore basic humanity to their thinking so that they could experience a marriage relationship with Him. People are different and God’s undertaking was to teach them to treat one another with dignity despite their differences.

To misuse God’s name is much bigger than saying God’s name in a disrespectful or inappropriate way since we are married to Him.  When you marry, you take on your husband’s name, and you have power of attorney.  God was instructing them not to misuse His name for their own benefit.  “Don’t take my name and do things that embarrass me. Don’t misuse my name to get your own way.”

God wants a community of His people who carry the Name properly. Can we misuse God’s name without saying the Name? God was trying to teach them that life is all about levelling the playing field, about people who have, helping people who do not have.  When people struggled with big sins, Jesus was there to help them, but He came down on those who looked down on others. He instructs us not to carry the name but contradict His name by the way we live, overlooking the poor, losing your temper, being unforgiving, gossiping, being judgmental etc.

The three Hebrew words used in this sentence can be translated literally like this: We can carry the name in a way that fulfils or disappoints the hope that rests upon it.

According to Hebrew thought, a person’s name was a prophetic utterance of character. In Ex 34:5, 6, God revealed His name to Moses: “Then the Lord came down in a cloud…and proclaimed His name, the Lord. And He passed in front of Him proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness.’” This definition of God’s name is quoted all the way through the Bible e.g., Psalm 103, a whole psalm expanding the name of God.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry and especially during His altercations with Jewish leaders, He insisted that He was sent by the Father to reveal His nature to His people. In John 17:6 He prayed, “I have revealed your name to those you gave me out of the world.”

As believers, we both carry and wear the name of God because we have been espoused to Jesus as His bride. To behave in a way that contradicts His nature or to use His name to try to manipulate Him for our own benefit is to abuse His name. God will not hold us guiltless for doing that!