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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Thou shalt not murder

Rockford-Springs-Church-webPastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

 

“Thou Shalt Not Murder.” Among other commands, these four words were spoken to the Israelites as they began their journey to the Promised Land after being set free from slavery in Egypt. They were spoken by the one who miraculous freed them—God. Why? Why did He have to say to His people, “Do not go around taking each other’s lives?”

This question is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Perhaps one could give multiple answers, but let’s focus on one answer quickly and then a second reason with a little more effort.

The first reason is because God knows the danger of our hands and our hearts. We murder. We murder with our thoughts, our words, and sometimes, even with our own hands. So God distinctly and clearly says to the people he has just freed not to engage in the way of death, either with their minds, or their actions. This makes perfect sense. A people will never survive if all it does is kill each other or themselves. In 2015, in Grand Rapids alone, there was 1,381 violent crimes, with suicide being the third leading cause for teenage death. This is a very present agony in our own community with 3 suicides is just one year.

But I believe there is another reason for the law. Within all of God’s laws we learn something about God. Each law gives us insight into the value system of God. Within this particular law we learn the profound truth that God loves life. He did not just create it, but He also sustains it, protects it, and cherishes it. For God, life is good. The taking of life is bad.

If someone is involved with the church of Jesus Christ, a phrase that often is spoken about or sung about is “The Glory of God.” The glory of God can simply be defined as: “The infinite beauty and greatness of all His manifold perfections (his many character traits).” For example, we see the glory of His faithfulness when He commands us to be true to our relationships: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” We see the glory of His order when we hear the command to “honor father and mother.” But when God rises up and commands “Thou Shalt Not Murder,” the glory of His love for life shines like the morning sun breaking through the darkness of the night. His light shines on life and sparkles out the beauty of its glory. So, being image bearers of God we too should love life.

So God loves life. We see this truth in this command. And we also see this truth in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 10:10 that “He has come to give us life, and to have it to the full.” So when hatred is strong, despair is heavy, chaos is overwhelming, hopelessness is controlling, and the temptation of death is luring, we need to step back and see that God loves life. The taking of life is not the answer, either by word or action. Hurting others, or myself, is never the solution. Life is good; God is good; His way is best. In our battle for an abundant life we must trust God and hold to the glory of life.

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