The Ten Commandments
1God said to the people of Israel:
2I am the Lord your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.
3Do not worship any god except me.
4 Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. 5 Don't bow down and worship idols. I am the Lord your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. 6But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.
7 Do not misuse my name. I am the Lord your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name.
8 Remember that the Sabbath Day belongs to me. 9 You have six days when you can do your work, 10but the seventh day of each week belongs to me, your God. No one is to work on that day—not you, your children, your slaves, your animals, or the foreigners who live in your towns. 11 In six days I made the sky, the earth, the oceans, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That's why I made the Sabbath a special day that belongs to me.
12 Respect your father and your mother, and you will live a long time in the land I am giving you.
13 Do not murder.
14 Be faithful in marriage.
15 Do not steal.
16 Do not tell lies about others.
17 Do not desire to possess anything that belongs to another person—not a house, a wife, a husband, a slave, an ox, a donkey, or anything else.
As Moses and Aaron made their way back to the top of Horeb the people could hear the ‘sounds’ of God. It seemed to them that they were listening to thunder and they saw flashes of lightning. Whether or not they heard audibly God’s words for themselves is a matter of debate.
Later on in the chapter, it seems that they do not even want God to speak, but rather for Moses to convey the words to them. Imagine the fear that had entered the camp. It would be like standing at the base of a volcanic eruption. Yet, there was a magnetic power in the voice of God. Remember, in Chapter 19, the people had been warned on pain of death to not approach or climb the mountain when they heard the voice of God. It was a holy, awesome place.
These ten commandments and the many ordinances that follow in the books of Moses form what the Hebrews called a holiness code. They were the basis of Jewish law from ancient times. They continue to this day.
This moral code reflects the nature of God himself. To live according to the code is to live the life God intends for us. It was a holy code reflecting in human attitudes and actions the nature of a holy God.
The ten commandments are meant to be kept. Though many see them as restrictive, that is a misunderstanding. Think of it this way. As God’s holy possession, hearing God’s voice and obedient to God’s law, you will not be an idolater, a blasphemer, a Sabbath breaker, rebellious, murderer, stealer, one who lies, or a covetous person.
The New Testament speaks of being born again (John 3:7). The Apostle Paul refers to the new nature “baptized into Christ” (Rom 6). Such a transformation is what we all need and God will give it to us when we turn from our self-centred lives and submit to him, ready to hear and obey.
If you have submitted to Jesus Christ, the Spirit of the holy powerful God lives in you. He is the source of this new nature.
Thank you Father that we can be a new creation in Christ Jesus. Thank you for your Spirit that intercedes for us and gives us the strength to live in obedience to your law, through grace. When we fail and stumble, you give more grace. We worship and adore you.