Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (Part 2) – How’s That Having Other Gods Before Me Workin’ Out For Ya?

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Uncategorized
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Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (Part 2 of 6)

Love the Lord Your God

There is only one God and you are to love Him with all your heart, soul, and all your strength. There! It cannot be any plainer than that. We are to make Him the central focus of our lives and that of our families as well.

Most of my life, I have spent making me the central focus of my life even if it was in martyrdom of sorts. As I have spoken here many times about my past, it was rough not necessarily from a survival standpoint but from the results of life choices. Because I grew up as a Methodist preacher’s kid with no real roots planted anywhere, I developed the habit of being a people pleaser. I developed the characteristic of seeking approval in others. I measured myself by the approval of others. As a grew into a teenager and young adult, that meant approval of girls. If I had a girlfriend, I was validated. Then, sex was the measure of my value with any woman that I was with. My first marriage was a testament to my need for validation through sex. It was rocky marriage from the start. I married a woman with a strong will and who had grown up pretty much spoiled (as compensation for having grown up without her father who was killed in a car accident when she was three). I was a people pleaser so she ruled our relationship because I wanted to ensure the continuous, uninterrupted supply of sex. Then, with the death of her brother in a car accident two weeks before our wedding date, she drifted into abusing prescription drugs to which she had easy access as a nurse. The next eight years of our lives were draped in crisis surrounding this addiction. Life was difficult not knowing what I would have to clean up. It was all about survival and being a martyr and growing anger over the deal I had been dealt. Sometimes, even in the worst of times, we can make ourselves our own gods. Look at what I am having to put up with! Poor me! She is the enemy of my happiness! I am not getting validated in this mess of a marriage. I am not getting the self-pleasure that I seek. Look at me. How pitiful is it that I am living in this hell! Sex, the self-centered, self-gratification, my god, was not being honored here. I was angry. I was a martyr for having to put up with what I had to put up with (a lot of people admired me for sticking with her through all this and I lapped up the martyrdom, because it was a validation of sorts of ME!). But it was backhanded validation with no direct benefit to me. I needed validation in the way that I needed and that was through sex.

 

That led me to my second marriage. Although my first wife had an affair during our marriage while she was in a rehab facility, it does not make the affair that I had right. But to me, at the time, it was invigorating. The first marriage had become such a struggle just to keep life together. It was about cleaning up messes, literal and figurative. It was about survival. It was certainly not about validating me through sex. If it were not for my children that were born of the first marriage, I don’t think that I would have played the martyr role as long as I did. I needed validation. I needed a lady in my life that would validate me through sex. It was found in the woman who became my second wife while I was married to my first. I have to admit that she made life seem normal again and she gave me validation. But when I think back about it, the relationship was about pursuing sex. While it was an affair, on again and off again over two-three years, we never had that much sex but it was always about the wanting to. She validated me through the desire she expressed for me and the lengths to which we would go just to be together briefly. Sex was the driving force. Not love. Not understanding of what it would be like to blend a family. Not understanding the hell that would be our divorces. Validation was what I needed and my second wife was the one to offer it. We lasted nine years in our marriage, but I fell prey to the same problem of making a person, a woman, my god. She, like my first wife, whether consciously aware or not, knew that I was a people pleaser and sought validation through intimacy. That’s a potent power to have. I was no leader of either household as a result. It was about keeping the wife happy to keep the supply alive. I was ruled by my god which was me and the validation of me. Whatever it took to get the validation of me I would do. The second marriage was simply a repeat of the first where the woman in my life became the arbiter of my validation. This time it just had the added dynamics of a blended family and an ex-wife that further complicated my validation train.

 

It was not until after I met Jesus Christ as my Savior that things began to change. And it really did not begin to change until after the second marriage ended and God placed me alone for the first time, really, in my life. It was a slow painful process of giving up my need for self-validation through women. There were six years between the end of my second marriage and this marriage to Elena, which will be the last one. In those six years, I had failed relationships because I was still seeking that validation through women. But it was a withdrawal period that had to happen. It was only when I met and fell in love with Elena that I began to put God on the pedestal where He belongs. God was successful in my relationship with her by teaching me that love is not sex. Sex is a byproduct of love and not the creator of it. He had her first not to be all that impressed with me, but yet want to be friends with me because we had been through similar circumstances. Friendship developed first. Then, he separated us by a continent when my job caused me to have to move to California. We were video chat and IM lovers for a year and half before she moved out to California to be with me. It was a new experience being best friends with a woman. It was a new experience to sex off the table. It was through my relationship with Elena that I learned that I had value outside of sex. She simply loved me for who I was. And I simply love her for who she is. We are best friends. We just enjoy hanging out together. Sex is now the cherry on top of the dessert that it should be. And, God is the center of my life now and not a woman, not sex. How freeing is that? When we make God the center of our lives and not something else whatever it maybe. When it is not God, it is about us. We make ourselves God by choosing to place something other than Him on the throne. Martyrdom can be a god. Sex can be a god. Anything can be a god. There is only one God. Anything less just doesn’t work out! He and He alone should be the center of our lives.

 

That’s the thing I thought about this morning is how I made myself my god for so many years whether it be through glorifying my own suffering or whether it be through making self-validation through sex and how that detoured my life for so long. It seems that’s what God wanted me to see in this passage this morning that we are spending a few days in, Deuteronomy 6:1-25. Today, God led me to focus on 6:4-6:

 

6 These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

 

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 

13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.

 

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

 

What is your god? What rules your life? What is it that you are putting on the throne besides the one and only true God? Is it money or the lack of it? It is possessions or the lack of them? Is it a woman? Is it a man? Is it someone you idolize? Break the chains of idolatry! There is nothing that will fulfill you when you make yourself, someone else, the pursuit of something, the possession of something, your god. You will always come up empty. You will always come away with destruction. You will always detour your life. Come home to the one and only true God. Find Him through Jesus Christ and the subsequent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God is the only one who can fulfill. We are designed by Him to make Him the central focus of our lives. Nothing else. Come home to Him.

 

Amen and Amen.

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