All of this also places a high responsibility on the mothers and fathers, and those of experienced generations themselves. That they would live as people who are receiving honor, and share their lives with those of the generations following in their footsteps. Not to close themselves off from those who are younger, or to seclude themselves in lives dedicated to the things they enjoy. But as those who have lived receiving God’s covenant, to turn now and share it with future generations!
But these verses aren’t all about how to live and share in the covenant for this life-time. Just as with Abraham, and how the covenant God was making pointed toward Jesus and ultimately New Creation, these verses contain that similar thread.
When Exodus 20:12 talks about “living long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” – yes, to the people of Israel this meant the area of Canaan, the promised land. But not many of us are looking for real estate in the middle east, so what do we make of this aspect of verse 12? We believe this points to the promised future “New Creation” that we will cross over into someday when God returns to make all things new. When Heaven and earth are brought together, as two halves of one whole, and reality as we know it will have become transformed by the full presence of God.
As we’re living out the covenant, honoring the generations who came before us, we will naturally be passing down what it means to live a life transformed by God’s Spirit. As New Creations train the generations after them to becoming New Creations, we all look forward to one day walking into that amazing new environment God has in store for us. When we will be clothed with our new bodies, and exist in a way never before imagined – that is the “land your God is giving you.”
What are some of the characteristics of that land?
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no more mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I’m making all things new!”
That definitely sounds like a land I would like to inherit, wouldn’t you? But as we receive this truth, we realize it’s not about collecting God’s rules in notebooks to keep in a backpack everywhere we go. It’s not about following the Jews in wearing a prayer shawl with tassels on it, one for every Levitical law. It’s about receiving the big picture of what God is saying in these commands…this is the new way of life for God’s people. A way that will transform who they are as individuals and as a community.
This also points us to another important truth: These are NOT the ways of the world.
The fact that God had to give these commandments, etch them in stone personally, speaks heavily to the fact that the people were not naturally inclined to live these ways. It’s the same in our world today. We don’t naturally worship God alone. Many times we find a new God just about every hour, whether it’s work, or sports, or fashion, or music, or entertainment.
Even in the world of religion, we’re tempted to “use God’s name in vain”, declaring that this is His will, or that is His will. Doing so justifies any amount of action, in our heads at least.
But let’s focus primarily on the commandment in verse 12 at this point. Most of us would be aware there is a “generational gap” in our culture. There are many reasons for this gap, some obvious, and some take a bit of study. But whatever the reasons, it exists.
But what God declares to His people, and to the Church today, is that here in this community especially – would be a place where such gaps are being bridged. That’s why our churches must strive to connect across generations, meeting and sharing testimony with people who are usually meeting in other Sunday School classes than ourselves. To do regular events as a church in the same way a large family gathering would happen. Sharing meals together are a great time to break bread and realize there can often be 3 generations represented at one table!
But there’s so much more to it than eating together! Come back tomorrow as we conclude our time in these important words…