Moral Code from God
Gracious Father, this day is Yours and I am Yours. I would not begin this day without being with You.
Read Exodus 20:1-17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Give our hearts to thine obedience, serve and love thee best of all” (C.F. Alexander, 1818-95, “Jesus Calls Us”).
These most significant words spoken by God on Mount Sinai–known as the Ten Commandments or the Ten Words–reflect God’s moral law. The moral God created a moral universe and expects us to live morally to build a moral society. The divine commands are soundly based on, and reflect, God’s unrivaled uniqueness and character. God first identifies himself as the one who mercifully delivered Israel (2). He is the one who gave us his Law (having written it with his own finger) and, if we are to look carefully at it, we will behold the very character of God. It is in this sense that the Law is described as perfect (Jas. 1:25) and “holy, righteous and good.” (Rom. 7:12). The first four commandments (3-11) speak of the incomparable nature and holiness of God; thus, we are to worship God alone. The rest (12-17) speak about his character and how it should be expressed in all our social relationships. There is no place for deceit, unfaithfulness, covetousness, violence and abuse.
The commands show that we have been created to reflect God’s character in who we are, what we do and how we relate to him and others. The divine law (which operates as our conscience, though it may need recalibration) is our “operating manual.” When we ignore it or live contrary to it, we will suffer the consequences. We cannot break the law without breaking ourselves. In fact, we are guilty of defacing God’s character and our own nature when we break God’s moral law.
The God who wrote his Law on stone tablets is now writing that same Law in human hearts (Jer. 31:33). Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and our obedience to Jesus (1 Pet. 1:2), we internalize God’s Law and, therefore, his character.
Exodus 20 is so well-known. Read it in a different translation (The Message, if available) and allow the Holy Spirit to speak new truth to you from the familiar passage.
Lord, familiarity with the Ten Commandments seems to lessen their impact upon me. Challenge me anew and enable me to make their teaching real in my life.