THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
(Exo 20:3-17) “You shall have no other gods before Me…You shall not make for yourself a carved image…You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…Honor your father and your mother…You shall not murder…You shall not commit adultery…You shall not steal…You shall not bear false witness…You shall not covet…
After the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt God called Moses up to the top of Mt. Sinai and gave him the Ten Commandments for His people to follow (Exo 20; Deu 5). They were written by the finger of God on the front and back of stone tablets (Deu 9:10). The first four commandments relate to man’s relationship to God. The following six relate to man’s relationship to others. The laws that follow in the book of Exodus all relate back to at least one of these commandments.
God’s people responded positively to the law of God. In fact they told Moses “. . . All that the Lord has spoken we will do . . .” (Exo 19:8) But before Moses came down from the mountain, His people were committing idolatry with the golden calf (Exo 32). What did Moses do when he saw Israel breaking the commandments? (Exo 32:19) So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. They broke the law so Moses broke the stone tablets. Later on they were written again by the grace and mercy of God (Deu 10:1-2).
The Ten Commandments have been the basis for our country’s system of laws and government since the beginning. Unfortunately they are being taken out of the classroom and courtroom. No wonder we have the problems we do in our nation! We have forgotten that they are the Ten Commandments . . . not the Ten Suggestions! America’s foundation is eroding. (Psa 11:3) If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
God said blessings would follow if His commandments were obeyed. He also said curses would follow if they were not obeyed. (Deu 11:26-28) “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God . . . As you follow Israel in the Old Testament this plays out a multitude of times. But they just didn’t get it. But don’t be too hard on them. Isn’t this the way we are even today? We always seem to test God and His commandments and learn afresh that His laws never change.
The Bible teaches that no man can keep the law and be saved. (Rom 3:20) Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight . . . So, what is the purpose of the law then? Paul answers that question: (Gal 3:24) Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. On the negative side the law shows me I’m a lawbreaker and therefore under condemnation. But on the positive side it plunges me onto the grace and mercy of God for salvation through Christ. Now the laws of God are written on the tablets of our hearts and we can fulfill them through the power of His Spirit that resides in us.
Welcome to the law of love! (Mat 22:35-40) Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Rom 13:10) . . . love is the fulfillment of the law.