“I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You have no other mighty ones against My face.” Exodus 20:2-3 from The Scriptures.

 

This is the first commandment of the Ten Commandments. These words, both spoken first and then written by the finger of God, are the opening Words to what is the visible and audible articles of a covenant delivered from heaven to a mixed multitude called Israel… to us. This commandment tells us who this God (Power) is. This God (Power) tells us His Name. This God tells us He is for us in the phrase: “your Elohim.” He is so vast, that it takes a grandiose plural noun to even begin to describe Him. As Elohim, He represents all of all, an entire Universe and Kingdom present in One Being.

 

He identifies Himself by the great and marvelous actions He did for this people. This God, this Elohim, this Power freed and delivered an entire people, a nation, from a foreign land. Not just any foreign land, but Egypt! Egypt was THE world power at that time and had all the wealth, power, military, riches, and strength in the known world. This God “heard” the cry of the people. This God “saw” how they were in bondage and suffering. This God’s “heart” was moved for them and this God took action on their behalf. This God is REAL, and living, and engaged in the lives of His people. This God is known by His mighty works.

 

These works and Words identify this God and He cannot be mistaken. This God brought plagues upon the earth of water to blood, frogs, lice, boils, hail, and darkness. This God brought death to the firstborn of all Egypt of both mankind and beast while redeeming the firstborn of Israel and all who obeyed the Passover commandment. This God parted the waters of a great sea, spoke from a burning bush, led people by fire and cloud and spoke from a mountaintop. What other being has done any work such as this for a people in all of the history of mankind? No other god. This is THE only God who brought mighty plagues upon the most mighty nation in the entire world, went up against the most mighty earthly king of Egypt, Pharaoh, brought him and his nation to utter destruction and this God had His chosen walk out of that place without a single scratch or a single hair of the head lost.

 

This Elohim desires to have a people for Himself in order to both save and bless all of mankind, and He desires to be known to all the world. He gives mankind the terms of His Covenant to them at Mt Sinai and He says many times over, “guard these Words, hear them and do them.” What does it mean to guard the Words? The Hebrew word is shamar.

 

shamar {shaw-mar’} a primitive root; TWOT – 2414; v AV – keep 283, observe 46, heed 35, keeper 28, preserve 21, beware 9, mark 8, watchman 8, wait 7, watch 7, regard 5, save 2, misc 9; 468 1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to keep, have charge of 1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life 1a2a) watch, watchman (participle) 1a3) to watch for, wait for 1a4) to watch, observe 1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory) 1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain 1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow) 1a8) to keep, preserve, protect 1a9) to keep, reserve 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware 1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain 1b3) to be kept, be guarded 1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed 1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from

 

For the next weeks, together we will be looking at how well we have done with “guarding” the covenant commandments of YaHUaH. There are dozens upon dozens of people calling themselves watchmen today, “watchmen on the wall” they call themselves. A watchman is also a word that describes a keeper of the Words. How well have the watchmen guarded the commandments? How about the phrase “treasure up in memory” for the keeping of the covenant commandments? Have we treated His covenant terms as a treasure, in our memories and in our teaching of our children? We will begin with the first commandment. This is not about a certain place of where to divide the commandments up… that discussion is fruitless and meaningless. The point is about shamar, guard the Words… this is what we are looking at.

 

 

We have already taken a look at YaHUaH’s introduction of Himself to us… at the Mountain. After He clarifies His identity for all time and all creation, He then speaks and

He instructs, “you have no other mighty ones against My face,” to this people. The phrase “against My face” simply means, in His face… in front of Him… before Him, whether literally or figuratively or spiritually. Not in any fashion, no other “so-called” gods in front of Him, around Him, next to Him, and most importantly between you and Him.

 

Remember, He was speaking to a people who had been saturated in idolatry, with a god for everything and everything a god, venerated and worshipped. The reason יהוה even mentions these man-created “other gods” is for the people. This is clear evidence, if someone needed more, that He is a God involved in the lives of His Creation. He is living. He knew their environment. He knew their trials and struggles. He knows their very nature.

 

So He has identified Himself very clearly here to His people (and to all of us and the world of nations) and He gives us an instruction that is not different in any way in the very nature of the instruction He gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. An instruction that is given, by necessity puts forth a choice: obey or do not obey. Obedience to this commandment continues the covenant between THIS God and you, and disobedience of this instruction breaks the covenant between THIS God and you. What is at stake here? The relationship! I will by your God, and you will be My people. If the covenant terms are broken… Does He cease to be God? No! Do you cease from being a person? No. Does His Covenant cease from being a covenant? No!

What ceases to be?   The relationship! This is what is at stake.

 

Is this matter important? It is pretty important. What other god has ever done such a thing as this! “See, I have taught you laws and right-rulings, as יהוה my Elohim commanded me, to do thus in the land which you go to possess. And you shall guard and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the peoples who hear all these laws, and they shall say, ‘Only a wise and understanding people is this great nation!’ For what great nation is there which has Elohim so near to it, as יהוה our Elohim is to us, whenever we call on Him? And what great nation is there that has such laws and righteous right-rulings like all the Torah which I set before you this day? Deuteronomy 4:5-8

 

“For all the mighty ones of the peoples are matters of naught” 1 Chronicles 16:26

 

 

Do you know what it means to do violence to these words of His covenant? Do you know what it means to bring these words to naught? Do you know what it means to make these words void, thereby absolving the relationship of YaHUaH with you as an individual and with a people as a nation?

 

Have WE, who are called Israel and believers done violence to these words, brought them to naught, and made them void? If we say we haven’t I am afraid we would be found to be liars. When is the last time one of us or as a community of the Body of believers wept over the violence we have done to our Elohim’s Words? It is very sorrowful. Do any of us even realize what has been done to these Words of the covenant throughout the years and even today?

 

“Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men. Her priests have profaned the set-apart place, they have done violence to the Torah.” Zephaniah 3:4.

We would do well to put our names in place of the prophets and priests. WE are reckless, WE profane the set-apart place, WE do violence to the Torah.

“Her priests have done violence to My teaching and they profane My set-apart matters. They have not distinguished between the set-apart and profane, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean. And they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned in their midst.” Ezekiel 22:26

“The Torah and the prophets are until John. Since then the reign of Elohim is being announced, and everyone is doing violence upon it.” Luke 16:16

 

Violence in Hebrew is chamac {khaw-mas’} a primitive root; TWOT- 678; v AV – ..violence 2, violated 1, shake off 1, wrongfully imagine 1, violently taken away 1, wronged 1, made bare 1; 8 1) to wrong, do violence to, treat violently, do wrongly 1a) (Qal) to treat violently, do wrong 1a1) of physical wrong 1a2) of ethical wrong 1a3) of physical and ethical wrong 1b) (Niphal) to be treated violently

 

Violence in Greek is βιαζω biazo {bee-ad’-zo} from 979; TDNT – 1:609,*; v AV – suffer violence 1, press 1; 2 1) to use force, to apply force 2) to force, inflict violence on

 

Have we violated the first commandment? What about “wrongfully imagined” it? Have we “made it bare”? In the next weeks we will all see that we have done great violence to the Words that make up our Covenant terms for life in YaHUaH. In Psalms 119:126 we read “It is time for יהוה to act! For they have broken Your Torah.”

The “they” in the verse above… we always point to others… to the world as “they”

Guess what? “They” are not responsible for NOT BREAKING the Torah, are they? “They” are not professing to be “in covenant” with THE God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! The “they” is “us” and now I will show to you this is true and we will be faced with a choice to repent and make changes in ourselves, our congregations and assemblies, and to those around us who profess love for YaHUaH’s commandments and yet bring violence upon His Words.

 

He will not hold us guiltless, for allowing the “nations” to influence us to such a degree that we water down and change His Words.

“For when you lift up your gift and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? “As I live,” declares the Master יהוה, “I am not being inquired of by you. And what come up in your spirit shall never be, when you say, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes in other lands, serving wood and stone.’

“As I live,” declares the Master יהוה, “do not I, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, reign over you?”

 

So, here is the command again “as it is written” and take a good look at it.

“I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You have no other mighty ones against My face.” Exodus 20:2-3

 

I will now show you this commandment as written and taught throughout the “believing” community.

 

To know there is a G-d

 

This is the first commandment according to Maimonides, one of the most highly regarding sages of Orthodox Judaism and author of much of the Mishnah Torah. Are these the Words of YaHUaH? Just think of all that is missing in this statement and in this changing of the “actual Words”. There is no identity, there is no declaration of His mighty works and salvation/deliverance message. A Hindu could read this and say “oh, I keep this commandment, this is no different than what I already do. See how much we are all alike.” Hmmm, makes you think doesn’t it?

 

Here is another…

 

I am Adonai your G-d

 

The first commandment in Judaism is what you see above.

 

Baptist’s first commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Where is the identity of who is speaking? Who is this god that I am being told, and the children are being told, not to have other gods before?

 

From the Methodists/Presbyterian we have: Do not worship any god except me.

From Episcopal/Catholic Catechism: I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have strange gods before me

 

If you look up the Ten Commandments teaching throughout Protestantism on line, you will soon notice that there is a movement to leave off the ten commandments of Exodus and Deuteronomy for “The Greatest Commandment” found in the Apostolic writings. The greatest commandment is greatest, but it does not replace the commandments of Exodus and Deuteronomy – it summarizes them! Additionally, to love YaHUaH will all our heart, mind, soul, and strength is defined also by YaHUsHa as keeping His commandments. It should send us straight back to His commandments given at Mt Sinai.

 

What is this need to change the Words of God? Moses gave us an example when he wrote the commandment again and spoke the commandment again, in Deuteronomy, “יהוה spoke with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. I am יהוה your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You have no other mighty one against My face.” Deut. 5:4,6-7. Moses did not change the words. Who gives us the authority to change them? To teach our children these Words of YaHUaH cannot be accomplished if we change them! We are warned over and over and over not to add to or take away from. Yet change them is exactly what we have done.

 

“Hear, O Israel, the laws and right-rulings which I speak in your hearing today. And you shall learn them, and guard to do them.” Deuteronomy 5:1

To know there is a God speaks nothing of His Works, identity, or character… nothing. I am the Lord your God says nothing about which God He is. Starting the commandment at: have no other gods before me tells us nothing about who or why the commandment even exists.

Remember the words of the rebellious, who desired to form the golden calf? What was it they said? They pointed to the fashioned image and said, “This is your mighty one, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” Ex 32:4 And then, Aharon directly afterwards proclaimed, “Tomorrow is a festival to יהוה” Ex 32:5

 

The priest brought in mixed worship, which is an abomination in the eyes of YaHUaH. They did not associate the commandments with the One True Elohim, or His Works of redemption and deliverance. His commandment is profaned among the congregation today. Is YaHUaH only a god of who’s determination can be described however we feel or think is appropriate? Or is He THE GOD as defined in the first commandment as it is written? The only brought forth Son of the Living Elohim knew to respond to the enemy with “as it is written.” It is wise and appropriate for the people of Elohim to do the same.

 

I remind you about the serpent in the garden of Eden: “And the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which YHWH Elohim had made, and he said to the woman, “Is it true that Elohim has said, ‘Do not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 Some of you reading this right now could be saying that this issue is being blown way out of proportion. If that is the case, I implore you to think about the repercussions and consequences of a Bride who “misquotes and misrepresents” her Bridegroom. She may be a fraud and not love her Bridegroom for she does not even give enough honor to Him so as to cherish His Words of marriage to her. She thinks herself above him and assumes she has the authority to change what He said.

 

The thing that makes YaHUaH who He is according to His Commandment, is the very fact that He states that He brought them up out of the land of Egypt. This makes Him an Elohim that is set-apart from the pagan gods of other cultures. That He brought them out of Egypt is the key to this command.

In other words, just to say as so many teach, Thou shalt have no other gods before me means nothing. On that plane, you have YaHUaH alongside any other god, and nothing would stand out other than just a choice of whom to worship. But because He specifically includes His work in freeing them HIMSELF from Egypt, makes Him the only Elohim worthy to be worshipped, loved, and praised.

 

One last point on this subject as a whole concerning the Word of Elohim, and it is a very graphic and physical one. There was a moment, in history, when the Word of YaHUaH was pierced through in a real and physical way, but it is no less than what we are doing today to His Word even now. In the year 30 of the Common Era, the Word was pierced through His wrists and feet by nail pegs to a stake. The Word was pierced through His side by a Roman spear. The Word was stoned with stones as if He was the blasphemer – when the blasphemy accusation belongs to us. When are we going to repent of our ways and truly change? The Word of YaHUaH demands we handle it with care and respect and not break it up, summarize it, shorten it, change it, destroy it and do violence to it. It is perfect “as it is written.”

 

 

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