Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ten Commandments

After my Grass is Greener post I thought it a good idea to review the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20 (New International Version)

1 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 idol 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 fathers 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 manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.

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 manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
This next part is intriguing to me.
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance

19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."

20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

22 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven:

23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

24 " 'Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.

25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.

26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.'
That part was intriguing because just a few chapters later the people who have just heard this and who have been so afraid of God that they didn't even want to hear His voice directly have built a golden calf to worship.

The first four commandments are about the people's relationship to God. Really the first four are pretty simple: no other gods, no idols, don't misuse God's name, and keep the sabbath day.

It is these first four that apparently offend so many people who don't want the Ten Commandments displayed. Displayed or not it seems to me that people pretty much ignore these today.

The next 6 are pretty simple: honor your parents, no murder, no adultery, no stealing, no false witnessing, and no coveting.

It is interesting that number five, honor your parents, is the single one of the then that is all affirmative with no "shall not" attached to it. The sabbath day one is close but it has a "shall not work" phrase.

There are plenty of folks who take issue with the honor your parents commandment and they have pretty good reasons. Then again there are quite a number who don't honor and have no reason at all.

I think there is pretty strong objection to the prohibition on adultery.

Surely there aren't too many people in favor of murder, theft, and giving false testimony.

Coveting is pretty widespread in my experience although I suspect a lot of folks would deny doing it.

About one thousand four hundred years later someone asked Jesus a question about the law and His response is in Matthew 22:
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

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