Ten Commandments – Exodus 20: 1-17
Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lordwill not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep 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; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that 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 bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
What does the passage say?
V. 1-2 God spoke these words to the people, through Moses. God tells the people who he is and what relationship they will have. For more than 400 years, the Israelites lived under an identity of being slaves of Pharoh. God is proclaiming that he is the Lord the Israelites, and helping them make a shift from the false identity formed by the people.
V. 3-11 Commandment to keep, so we can better Love God.
No God’s before me
Do not make idols
Don’t make wrongful use of my name
Keep the Sabbath holy.
Meditate on why God gave these four commandments, in the lens to Love God more.
V. 12-17 Commandments to keep unity in the community – Loving Others.
Honor your parents
Do not murder
Do not commit Adultery
Do not steal
Do not falsely testify
Do not covet
Meditate on why God gave these six commandments, in the lens to Love others.
What does this mean to me/us
If we read what happened in the previous chapter, there is an interesting point.
In chapter 19 God calls Moses to send out a message to God’s people. God says, “You have seen what I did to Egypt and ho I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples, you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation” (Ex. 19:5-6 The Message).
God calls the people to the priest – bridge builders- and a holy nation. This is quite a different identity from what they had. They were slaves for generations, nothing close to this new identity.
Moses came to the people with this message, making him a ‘bridge builder’ between God and the people, saying, “The people were unanimous in their response: ‘Everything God says, we will do.” Moses took he people’s answer back to God” (Ex 19:8 The Message).
To be honest, I never realized this negotiation was happening between God and the people. God never push this law upon the people, they chose to follow.
The reason God gave these rules and the reason the people decided to follow the Law is for one purpose: create a new identity.
God needed to help God’s people to change their identity to live in this world as God’s chosen people.
If we see the law in this way, how does the meaning change for us?
Many people see the law as something unnecessary for us to follow. Jesus never said he came to abolish the law but rather perfect it (Mathew 5:17). Because the law does not give us salvation, but it does help us to transform our identity in Christ.
What does this MEAN to you?
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