FIRST THINGS FIRST
My God, I’m grateful for the assurance of Your presence throughout today. To You be all glory and praise.
Read Exodus 20:1–26
The Ten Commandments
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Idols and Altars
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’
- Exodus 20:3 Or besides
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Jesus. All for Jesus. All I am and have and ever wish to be.’1 How easy do you find it to sing the words of this song? Talk with Jesus in the light of them.
As Israel embraced their role as priests to God’s world (19:6), their role would be achieved by revealing the true character of their God through their work ethic (vs 8–11), relationships both at home and in society (vs 12–16), and even their desires and ambitions (v 17). Like their God, they were to be thoughtful about the needs of others (v 15), put a high value on family (v 12), life (v 13), faithfulness (v 14), and truth (v 16). It was in the ordinary that the extraordinary God would be glimpsed.
How were they to achieve this radical and distinct lifestyle? By clinging tenaciously to the speaking, saving God who had brought them out of Egypt (vs 1,2). They owed him everything, and so they must make sure that nothing pushed him into second place in their affections (vs 3–7). The weekly ‘day- off’ (vs 8–11) became a statement that the true source of their life was God-dependence, not self-sufficiency.
According to Jesus, the whole life of a disciple hangs on these two themes: sold-out love for God and sacrificial love for neighbors (Matthew 22:34–40).
Talk to God. Reaffirm your desire to put him first in your life. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help where obedience is a struggle. If you have failed, ask his forgiveness, knowing that God loves to show mercy (Micah 7:18)!
O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You…; (Psa. 63:1).
1 Robin Mark. Songwriters: Anna B Warner and William B Bradbury, ‘Jesus, All for Jesus’ lyrics ©Capitol Christian Music Group
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