Exodus 20….God has gone to great measures to impress upon the people that what He is going to say is highly important! Remember, He is almighty, just, and has all authority! We are to have reverential fear and high respect for Him as Almighty Father! He expects us to keep His commands and instructions. So, chapter 20 is what He commands! We find the 10 commandments. 10 is the full number of human organization. These are God’s 10 moral commandments for righteous behavior to organize our life upon. Can you remember the 10 commandments?
1. Have no other gods before the One True God. Do not worship or follow pagan religions, or systems, or idols. Only He brings you out of slavery to evil.
2. Worship and serve nothing above Him…including gold and silver. There are lifeless idols and priorities. If you hate and disregard Him, the sin will carry on to the third and fourth generation. But, if you love and obey Him, His underserved grace and steadfast loving kindness will extend to thousands of generations….immense grace!
3. So not take the name of the Lord in vain….falsely, in ways that impugn His character, disregarding its reverence and power. Remember, God reveals Himself through His names. Also, do not abuse, manipulate, deceive, or condemn using His name. Do not use His name frivolously, as in meaning nothing or empty of value…as vain. Do not use His name in vanity and pride, especially religious pride.
4. Remember the seventh day to keep it set apart and dedicated to the Lord. It is for your day to rest from your labors just as God rested from creating on the seventh day. Use it for rest and His purposes.
These first commandments concern our relationship with God. The rest concern our relationship with one another.
5. Honor, respect, obey, and care for your father and mother. I believe this is training and practice with someone we can see and touch that we might better come to good relationship with our Heavenly Father. This command comes with the promise of prolonged life. In other words….a life of disobedience and rebellion will easily bring a consequence of dying young.
6. Do not commit unjustified deliberate murder. This is different than killing in self defense or as in warfare battle against evil.
7. Do not commit adultery against your spouse…this includes pornography. This gives training as the Bride of Christ. Faithfulness and love required.
9. Do not lie. Do not manipulate or withhold the truth from any person. Do not testify falsely against anyone (ever heard of gossip?).
10. Do not covet anything that is your neighbors’…..that means selfishly desire and attempt to acquire…their possessions, but also including their spouse and family.
The people were afraid of all of this spectacle and therefore also afraid of God. But, see verse 20, “Do not be afraid. For God has come in order to test you and in order that the fear of Him (a profound reverence for Him) will remain with you so that you do not sin.”
In verses 22-26, God gives more insightful instructions. The patriarchs who came before them knew about stacking stone/rock as memorials and as alters to sacrifice animals and blood unto God. They built these stone alters when God revealed Himself, His names, His character, and His covenants to them. One example – when Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac and God provided a ram instead, naming Himself “God Provides”. God tells them to use natural stone/rock that He created, not hand chiseled (man made) stones like the Egyptians. And they should not have steps to climb…which would really only reveal their nakedness. The Creator Father will fulfill His salvation through His Son, His Rock, and not anything made by man (religion and humanism). Without His robe of righteousness, all our climbing to get to the top, whether in the world or religious law, will only show how naked we really are. Remember the nakedness of the Laodiceans in Revelation 3: 15-22?
Honor, reverence, love, and obey God with thankful praise for His undeserved grace, loving kindness, and righteous instructions. Only He saves and sustains us in His Life!
Are there any of these commandments you need to be working on….learning to follow Him, His character, His ways? You will be surprised if you ask the Holy Spirit to help you search these thing out and meditate on them…think about them seriously….examine yourself if you are in Him and following Him.