FOLLOWING THE GOD WE KNOW
Teach me Your ways, O God.
Read Deuteronomy 5:1–22
The Ten Commandments
5 Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3 It was not with our ancestors[a] that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. 4 The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. 5 (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:
6 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
7 “You shall have no other gods before[b] me.
8 “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. 9 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, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
11 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 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 ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
17 “You shall not murder.
18 “You shall not commit adultery.
19 “You shall not steal.
20 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
22 These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.
a Deuteronomy 5:3 Or not only with our parents
b Deuteronomy 5:7 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.
ReflectHow many of the Ten Commandments can you remember? Can you give a reason for each one?
Israel needed to remember that their situation was unique. The one true God had made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai (Horeb). He had met with Moses face to face, and the elders of the nation had seen him (Exod. 24:9–11). It was that God who had given ten words of instruction to the people.
The foundation of the instruction was God’s goodness to them. As he begins in verse 6, and restates in verse 15, this was the God who had rescued them from their Egyptian slavery. As a response to God’s grace, they were to be devoted to him exclusively with their hearts, their eyes, their words and their weekly schedule (7–15).
Furthermore, their interactions with each other were not to be marred by disrespecting the authority of parents, coveting the husbands/wives of others, taking others’ belongings, or ruining the reputation of others. The last command underlines the underlying problem—their desires were corrupted by sin (16–21).
The Ten Commandments were never about earning God’s favor. They were given to rescue sinful people.
It would be easy to evaluate how we are performing against these ten standards, but instead take some time to reflect on how your heart is doing. Is your desire to please God?
Dear Jesus, give me a heart like Yours that desires to honor my heavenly Father.