September 28, 2016
Exodus 19:1, 2, 20, 20:1
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
To give the setting, I have condensed the Scripture as much as possible – yet to still give the idea of the setting of the Ten Commandments. I would encourage you to read the full text of Exodus, chapters 19 and 20. But here is Exodus 19:1, 2, 20, and 20:1
…after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt…they
came to the Wilderness of Sinai….and…camped there before the moun-
tian….Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai…and Moses went
up….And God spoke all these words, saying…
…the Ten Commandments:
I. You shall have no other gods VI. You shall not murder.
before Me. (Exodus 20:2) (Exodus 20:13)
II. You shall not make for your- VII. You shall not commit adultery.
selves any carved image…you (Exodus 20:14)
shall not bow down to them or
worship them. (Exodus 20:3, 4) VIII. You shall not steal. (Exodus
III. You shall not take the name of
the LORD your God in vain. IX. You shall not bear false
(Exodus 20:7) witness. (Exodus 20:16)
IV. Remember the Sabbath day, X. You shall not covet. (Exodus
to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8) 20:17)
V. Honor your father and your
mother. (Exodus 20:12)
Of course this is a shortened version. The first 17 verses of Exodus 20 that the Ten Commandments occupy gives a lot more detail.
One thing I have discovered: We often think of the Ten Commandments as listed above (usually displayed in Roman numerals – I through X). Maybe they should be displayed in a circle! In Colossians 3:5 Paul writes (English Standard Version): “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Did you catch what was at the end of this verse? “…covetousness…is idolatry.” The first commandment has to do with idolatry! The last with covetousness! So Paul ties the last right back to the first! It is interesting to note that Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul the Apostle) persecuted Christians for practicing idolatry. In the minds of the Jewish leaders of the day, the early followers of Christ were worshiping a false god named Jesus! Yet Paul later confessed that he struggled with covetousness (see Romans 7:7). Since covetousness…is idolatry, he was persecuting Christians for the very thing of which he was guilty!
Why did God give the Ten Commandments? Was it so we could have the goal of keeping them to please Him and gain eternal life? No! Paul plainly says in Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His [God’s] sight….” Remember, the Ten Commandments are the basis of the whole 613 statutes of the Jewish law! (613 is the number given by rabbinical tradition). Why, then, was the law given? Again, the apostle has the answer. It is found in the last part of Romans 3:20: “…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” I suggested above reading Romans 7:7. Now I will quote it:
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary,
I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have
known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
Paul, in Galatians 3:24 and 25, compares being bound to observe the Jewish law to being under a tutor (or schoolmaster – King James Version): “…the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are no longer under the obligation to keep the Jewish law – or to be legalistic about our Christian faith! And James reminds us in James 2:10 and 11 the necessity we put ourselves under if we try to keep the law:
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is
guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do
not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you
have become a transgressor of the law.
Just take the example of murder : I John 3:15 reads, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Who has not experienced hating someone at sometime in his or her life? What about adultery? Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “…I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Most men (according to what the Lord says) have committed adultery! And many women have also – looking with lust upon men! But we might not realize this unless we are told that such actions are wrong! This is the function of the law (the Ten Commandments)! And when we then realize that we are such sinners, we will search for a Savior! As God said in Jeremiah 29:13: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
You will find Jesus Christ to be your Savior! I might say that He will find you!
More on the Ten Commandments in the next blog.