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How Far Have We Come?

It's 2024: How FaHave We Come on Planet Earth?

yByMorah Karen Low Deloge

by Morah Karen Low Deloge



 

It’s been nearly 6000 years since a man named Adam began his life in the Middle East. And the way world events are unfolding, theologians are speculating about how many years we have left.   Now with this New Year 2024, or 5784, before us, it's a great time to think about our progress as a society, and for humanity in general. I wonder, how far have we really come on planet earth?

   

THE PROBLEM

 

If we stacked all the books that have been written, they would reach the moon and back, but the majority don’t know how to apply information to real life, and the rest don’t care to try.

 

Literacy is more widespread than in any previous generation, but understanding has withered. 

 

Knowledge has increased, but common sense and the ability to reason have declined. Wisdom has nearly vanished.

 

We are collectively more educated, but we have a famine of truth.

 

Technology has advanced beyond our wildest dreams, but society has regressed.

 

Trillions of dollars spent on medical research have not eliminated disease.

 

Military might and weaponry has achieved Star Wars proportions, but we have no peace.

 

Philosophers, rabbis, pastors, and priests have been offering lifetimes of instruction over thousands of years, but we are still replete with racism and plagued with problems. 

 

We have spent billions on higher education, but we haven’t solved our problems. We cannot irradicate hate or eliminate selfishness and sin. 

 

Though we have a greater abundance of food and wealth and live largely with more creature comforts and conveniences than the world has ever known, we remain depressed, selfish, and suicidal. 

 

We are overloaded with benefits, but we are not content. We should be generous and charitable, but we are more self-centered and complacent than ever.  We are gluttonous.

 

We are inundated with FaceBook, FaceTime, virtual screens, and automated speakers, yet we are increasingly isolated, relationally broken, and unable to communicate.

 

We would rather attack and condemn, rant and curse, than listen or reason, or try to converse. We know how to scream and holler, but not how to ask questions. 

 

We can get laser surgery to correct our vision, but we remain blind to what is all around us. 

 

Our politicians are liars who don’t lead or protect us. Our government passes laws that harm us, rob our freedoms, and put us at greater risk. 

 

Violence is on the rise and common theft is legal, up to nearly $1000 per person, per day! are breaking the backs of good honest business, forcing hard-working citizens to lose every day. 

 

Chaos rules and ignorance is rampant, but genuine compassion for our fellow man is lacking. 

 

We tell ourselves that we are great, advanced, and powerful, but we are weak, broken, and dying. 

 

Where did we go wrong? More importantly, how can we get back on track? 

 

The root of all our problems goes deeper than intelligence, wealth, or circumstances. It lies deeper than the color of our skin, our gender, or occupation. 

 

If we don’t look inside and examine the human heart and the values we espouse, we will NEVER find the peace we yearn for, or the joy that life can bring. 

 

We must return to some basic guidelines to restore a right order and align our behaviors with the way it was meant to be. 

 

The good news is that it’s not too late. However old you are or whatever you’ve done in the past, you can still find peace and joy. You can still know truth. 

 

THE QUESTION

 

How? What does God say about all this? Let’s go back to the very beginning, to Beresheet, the book of beginnings, GENESIS.

 

As early as chapter 4, when the very first brothers on the planet were old enough to work, the first sibling rivalry arose. Cain, the first son born on earth, murdered his younger brother out of jealousy even after the Lord warned him to master his problems and do what is right. 

 

The Lord Adonai then appeared to the elder brother and asked, “Where is your brother?” 

 

We can learn a lot from the questions God asks, always straight to the heart of the matter. He asked what he had done to someone he should have protected and cared about. 

 

But in his sassy response, Cain poses a question for the ages. 

“I don’t know, [he lied], Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Genesis 4:9)

 

I’ve heard it said that the entire Bible is God’s answer to that question.

   

THE ANSWER

 

Now, if we skip ahead to the next book of Shemot, the book of Exodus, God tells us how. He lays out all the instructions for his people in the Commandments. Jesus famously summarized the entire teaching of the Bible with 2 simple points:

 

1.    Love God with all your heart and soul and strength.

2.    Love your neighbor AS yourself. (Do unto others, the golden rule.)

 

Like our two hands with five digits on each, the Ten Commandments offer a perfect set of instructions to pave the way for a life of peace, not to mention, great reward from God.  

 

We need to come back to this solid foundation, and a life of Faith. 

 

Take time to study these TEN WORDS given through Moses nearly 3500 years ago [1] and you’ll come to appreciate how perfectly resplendent and all-encompassing they are. They give a plumbline for all of life and for all time.  And it’s as simple as holding up your two hands. 

 ON ONE HAND



Part One is represented by the first five Commandments. 

Love GOD and Follow His Word. Put Him first. 

 

1.    Worship God alone. There is no other. 

2.    Do not make or bow down to a cheap imitation, a man-made religion, or anything false.

3.    Do not misuse or disrespect His Name. Represent him honorably and reverently.

4.    Keep the Sabbath on the 7th Day. Spend this sacred time with him, doing no regular work. It is the sign of the Covenant for all time. (Ezekiel 20:19-21)

5.    Honor your father and mother, your God-given authority, so you will live long, this is the only command with such a promise!

 

Like the engine of a train, all the other cars will follow right up to the caboose, and your whole life will be established and on track. 

  

ON THE OTHER HAND

 

Part Two is spelled out in the last five Commandments, summed up in the love and respect for your fellow man. Young or old, friend or foe—everyone!

 

6.    Do not murder. Human life is sacred. All human life, regardless of gender, race, even the unborn, is a gift of God. 

7.    Do not commit adultery. Marriage is sacred. Keep your body for good, not evil.

8.    Do not lie. Truth and truth-telling are sacred. (The devil is the father of lies.)

9.    Do not steal. God will not honor dishonest gain. 

10.  Do not covet anything that belongs to anyone else. Respect boundaries. 

  

THE CHALLENGE

 

Let’s go back to the beginning and think about the condition of our world today. If these Ten Words were followed in society, everyone would live in security and enjoy total peace. Can you imagine? 

 

When you drive in traffic, you know the importance of red lights and speed limits. It’s bad enough as it is in some cities and countries. Imagine if there were no rules to guide us, we’d collide at every intersection! No one would yield. No one would wait for anyone else to pass. EVERYONE would go his own way as fast as he possibly could, and we'd crash at every merging of lanes. It would be complete chaos and death at a phenomenal pace. 

 

Why else would the Holy Spirit write the Law on our minds and hearts if it doesn't matter that I adhere to it?  Dear believer, we better have the Law in our heart!  If there’s anything else written in there, you need to ask yourself, whose handwriting is it?  (Jeremiah 31:33) Then, get rid of it!

 

Jesus was very clear when he said that He didn't come to put an end to the Law. As long as heaven and earth are here, not one punctuation mark will be deleted. (Matt 5:17-19) His brother Ya’akov (James) also taught us, “live as those who will be judged by the law.” (James 2:8-12)  

 

Rabbi Shaul/Paul agreed. The Law has a perfect and essential role to play. It DEFINES sin. (Romans 7:11-14) 

 

No, there’s nothing wrong with the Commandments. It’s us. 

   

THE CONCLUSION:  A CALL TO HOLINESS

 

Sin wants to rule in and over us. But just as God warned Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  (Genesis 4:7) 

 

We need to come back to an understanding of practical holiness and turn around our attitudes toward sin. We must come into agreement with the Father. As Peter warned, "But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”  (I Peter 1:15-16)   He quoted Leviticus where this statement was given four times, reminding us of the extreme importance of keeping focus on holiness, decades after Calvary. In other words, the rules haven’t changed.    

 

Just as we drive down the highway and watch for yellow lights and speed limits, we need to pay attention to all the little things in our hearts. Attitudes. Words. How we treat people. Truth telling. All of it. Every mile. Every step of the journey. Please don’t wait until you see blue lights in the rear view! 

 

Ease off the gas and enjoy a sabbath to review the course of your life. Pull over and get some refreshment. Check your directions. Obey the Law. Why? 

 

God said, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.”  (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)  

 

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing makes them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165) 

 

The commandments are meant to be cherished, valued, and passed on.  The promised result is life and peace.   

 

 

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[1] The date 1446 BC is commonly understood, 1446 + 2024 = 3470 years ago. 

 

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