Archive for August 19th, 2011

Exodus 20

Exodus 20 is one of the most important chapters in all of scripture.  Some folks wrongly believe that the Old Testament no longer matters to us in the 21st century.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It not only matters – it still remains as one of the key measures of how we are doing in comparison to God’s requirements for us.  It is the stick by which God will hold us accountable.  These verses – as given by God to Moses on the mountain – are the standard to which we will be held.  God knows we will fail which is why He sent His Son to the Cross to cover our sin.  But the reality is that these verses define why we need a Savior.  So what does God expect?  What is the list He gave to Moses so long ago that still are our benchmarks today:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor your father and your mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness
  10. You shall not covet

God gave Moses the 10 commandments that day.  He did it in grand style with “thunder….lightning….sound of the trumpet….mountain smoking”.  He got the attention of the people that day.  And their response was to fear God.  That was a good answer.  We need to fear God.  We need to realize that this is not the list of ten suggestions.  This is God’s expectations and when we miss the mark – it means we have fallen short of His standards.  This list shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior.  This list is where we find out that we are not as good or perfect as we think.  There is no gray area here.

You shall or you shall not means exactly what it says.  Interpretation is not necessary.  If we do it once – we have violated God’s
commandment for our life.  And guess what – I have done more than one of these more than once.  I am a sinner that has to deal with the result of those choices.  Yes sin is a choice.  Not being obedient to God’s commandments is a choice.  We don’t accidentally decide to steal or commit adultery or dishonor our parents.  We CHOOSE to do those things.  Moses tells us why these matter: “God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin”.  The wages of sin are death.  How we live matters, and what we do with these commandments matters much.  Jesus didn’t come to negate the 10 commandments.  He came to give us a way to atone for our utter failure to live up to them!

As you read these again in the passage as God gives them to Moses – note that most of the words are focused on not having images and keeping the Sabbath holy.  God obviously takes those very seriously.  We tend to struggle with putting our time and money into stuff that gets in the way of our relationship with God.  I don’t think that is a wise choice.  Nor is ignoring the day God has set aside for us to worship and spend time with Him.  He uses most of His words to Moses to drive home those points.  I don’t think it was unintentional.  What are you doing with these commandments?

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