Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 February 2022 Exodus 20:3.

Exodus 20:3.     Thou shalt have no other gods before me… 

It’s another cold, cold Sunday! But what do we expect eh? It’s the middle of winter, so it ought to be cold. (smile) The problem is that over the last few years we’ve been spoiled with comparatively mild winters, and that’s what we now expect to be the norm. But Mother Nature has other ideas, and now that she’s turned up the heat (smile) or rather turned down the cold, we can’t handle it and are complaining like the soft, entitled, whiny specimens we’ve become. But please remember friends, we are true believers in Jesus, the Saviour of the world, a li’l cold weather shouldn’t stop us from congregating on the Lord’s Day, where possible, or joining in worship by technological means where it’s not. 

So, without further ado, let’s get to today’s opening song. It’s something we all know; a soulful, gospel infused song, composed by Ron Miller and first recorded by Stevie Wonder, way back in 1970. It’s appropriately titled ‘Heaven Help Us All.’ And do we ever need heaven’s help just as badly right now, as we needed it then, because our world is in a terrible mess, with serious conflagration ever so possible, as everyone’s geared up for a worldwide conflict during this time of serious pandemic. So let’s offer up our sacrifice of praise, singing the Ray Charles and Gladys Knight version; that’s a mid-tempo, soulful, sincere plea for help, with plenty sweet background vocals. 

‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? 

(Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys – monologue: “I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy!” Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Yes friends, our world is once again at the edge of the precipice like it was back when the song was written some fifty years ago. We survived then, but who knows if we will right now, because the problems are so many and people are so angry and divided and willing to do almost anything to project their cause…anything but serious talk and a li’l compromise. And the only thing I can compare it to, is one of the two great prayer situations in the Good Book, when Nehemiah and Daniel prayed for their people Israel when they were held captive in Babylon, for their safety and the reconstruction of Jerusalem that was in shambles.

 It’s only sincere prayer and repentance of that magnitude that will keep us from going over the edge of the yawning precipice. Today we’ll look at Daniel’s prayer, where he wrote. ‘And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed unto the Lord God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful (awesome) God, keeping the covenant and mercy (LOVING-kindness) to them that LOVE him, and to them that keep the commandments. 

We have sinned and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts, and from thy judgements. Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land…O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face (shame), to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.’ (Dan. 9:3-6, 8-9) 

Oh my fellow believers, it’s the same things that have brought us to this untenable situation in which our world is currently mired; rebellion against Almighty God and a stubborn refusal to keep His commandments, despite the prodding of His prophets and even His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. It seems like we have forgotten, or simply ignored the first commandment the Lord gave to Israel, and consequently to all the earth. ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me… For I the Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting (punishing) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. (Ex. 20:3, 5b) 

Now what is difficult to understand in those clear and precise statements eh? And as the scholars so simply and plainly explain. ‘Thus the first commandment teaches that no deity, real or imagined, is to rival the one true God, who is the only One who matters. It demands an exclusive covenant relationship with Yahweh (cf. Ps. 81:9-10).’ And we know friends, that neither our God or His word changes, He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Furthermore, we’ve seen plenty evidence down through the years of the Lord punishing people for disobedience and rebellion, while rewarding them for steadfastness in His name. 

However, even after the Lord sent His Son Jesus Christ to be sacrificed on the cross at Calvary for our abominable sins, we still continue to rebel, be disobedient, worship other gods, even to the extent of trying to remove Jehovah from our society. What utter foolishness and stupidity! That’s NEVER going to happen! 

But we’ve become so enamoured of Satan and his disgusting lies and deceptions that we keep doing his evil bidding, even to our detriment. And yet we wonder why our world is in such a chaotic state. But that’s the nature of the enemy; to create chaos and confusion. And unfortunately, though so many of us claim to sincerely believe in Jesus, we can’t seem to fathom that and move away from Satan’s evil work. 

And I like this later verse in Daniel’s prayer, because he tells it like it is. ‘Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil (kept the disaster in store) and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous, in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.’ (Dan. 9:14) That says it all my people! And it’s not like we haven’t heard it a million times, but for some unknown, ungodly reason, many of us still choose not to believe it. And now we are paying the price. 

Now, the Lord might not be actively causing our problems, but He’s certainly not intervening to help us with them. Like we want, He’s allowing us to handle our lives on our own. And it’s oh so obvious that we cannot do it properly, therefore we are now suffering the consequences. And until we sincerely and wholeheartedly return to God’s fold, our problems will always be more than we can handle. That’s the long and short of the story! Much LOVE!

…I am the Lord…that is my name…and my glory…will I not give to another…neither my praise to graven images… (Is. 42:8) 

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