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Vague Commands?
by Tom Goodman
November 7, 2012

The word "stop" is too vague?

That's what a Canadian university professor tried to argue in a 2002 traffic case.  Rod Yellon, a University of Manitoba assistant professor was fighting a ticket he got for allegedly rolling through a stop sign.  He actually challenged the very constitutionality of stop signs, claiming that without "standards and frequencies of calibration, performance and testing" they are simply too vague.

The judge brought a conviction before Yellon could get too far.  Which is too bad, because Yellon's planned strategy included calling a "perceptual psychologist" to testify that police could not have judged that he rolled the stop sign because they were also moving at the time.  I bet I'm not the only one who would have liked to have seen the court transcript on that.

We might chuckle at Yellon's absurd claim that the word "stop" is too vague.  Then again, how often do we try that one with God?  In his 10 Commandments, he says, "Stop!" but the way we behave it's as if we're saying, "God, you really haven't defined your expectations clearly enough."

Someone has said, "Countless people who claim to follow the Ten Commandments just never seem to catch up with the Ten Commandments."  We're finding out just how hard that is to do in our Fall study.  The deeper we take each commandment, and the more thoroughly we apply each one to every aspect of life, the more we realize we need the Son's forgiveness and the Spirit's power.  Otherwise, we don't stand a chance!

It's certainly true with the Ninth Word, which we'll look at this Sunday.  God prohibits the fabricated report, the too-quick assumption, the elaborated story.  He says, "When it comes to false witness against your neighbor -- stop!"  There's nothing vague about it, but, oh, we're more clever than Yellon at trying to wiggle out of this one!  I've been both victim and perpetrator of exaggerated accusations, and you have, too.

Let's join together this Sunday and seek God's help with overcoming this crippling flaw.  As usual, we meet for worship @ 10am, followed by small-group gatherings @ 11am.  These last three weeks of November we have two more commandments to examine, and then a Sunday to wrap up the whole Fall study.  Do your part to help us end this unified church study with a strong attendance!  See you Sunday!


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