The Ten Commandments
Lord, we depend on Your grace to compensate for the deficiency of knowledge we bring to the issue of the Ten Commandments.
Read Exodus 20:1–17
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 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.”
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.
“I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other gods before me… for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exod. 20:2,3,5).
The Ten Commandments may be familiar, but if you have wondered whether having no other gods (3) is part of the command not to make idols (4–6), then you are not alone. This is not just a Jewish–Christian, or even a Protestant–Orthodox–Catholic, issue. Protestant Christians themselves are not united. Reformed and Orthodox Christians separate
verse 3 from verses 4–6, whereas Lutheran Christians and Jews see them as one command. Where the Lutherans see them as the first command, however, the Jews see them as the second, for they take verse 2 as a command in itself. Catholics take the whole of verses 2–6 as the first command. Reformed Christians think that verse 2 might be included in the first commandment. This all means that by the time you get to verse 6 some groups think there have been two commandments and others that there has only been one. The latter groups then split coveting house and wife, etc., into two. By the time they reach verse 17, therefore, all groups have arrived at ten commandments! (Look up “Ten Commandments” in Wikipedia to see a table of this, along with other information on the subject.)
You may have heard that the first tablet (i.e., the first five commandments) contains commandments that relate to God, whereas the second is concerned about relationships with each other. Often, however, when our relationship with God is right, so are our relationships with others. For instance, remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy (which would be classified, according to the above criterion, as a commandment that relates to God), protects family, slaves, foreigners and even animals (8–11).
It is a sad irony that many of us would (at least in theory) be prepared to die for the Lord, and yet we can’t even collectively identify the Ten Commandments with any degree of cohesiveness.
Think about the wisdom characterizing the Ten Commandments. Think about the dramatic societal improvement worldwide if everyone kept them in the fear of God.
Jesus, thank You for the cross and for saving me. Please help me to appreciate more deeply Your grace and help me to keep the Ten Commandments.