Monday: Exodus 20:1-5
One of the great events in the history of Israel, and perhaps in the history of all mankind, is the giving of the Law. The Ten Commandments was not given so that the Israelites by keeping it could attain righteousness. Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I try to live by the Ten Commandments.”to justify themselves? But if you question them carefully, they will discover all too quickly that the Ten Commandments condemn, rather than save. The Law functions to show the Israelites (and us) our sinfulness in contrast with God’s standards of holiness and righteousness.
“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:19–20, NLT)
The Law condemns our sin and shows us our need for a Savior. Lets look at the commandments:
1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” God is number one, as He should be. He alone is self-existent, independent, eternal and the only wise God who created us. He has an uncontestable right to command us, to guide us, and to have the singular place of affection in our hearts. See Christ here: When he was asked what the most important commandment was by one of the scribes, “Jesus answered him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:29)
If one will love the Lord more than anyone, yes, even wives, husbands, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers (Matthew 10:37), then how many God-fearing husbands would be faithful to their wives? Because of their chief affection for Christ, how many wives would be soft and loving to their husbands? Parents, loving God more than their children, would have the courage and principle to lead their children in the ways of truth and Christian living. Being a greater friend to God they would be faithful to their souls before being a friend to their flesh. Christ loved His father more than the opinions of men, and even life itself. By doing so, He earned and gave life to us.
God is number one.
Read Exodus 20:4-11
2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image.” You’ll find no shortage of spirituality in this world.
“God has placed eternity into the heart of man.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Mankind, by nature, is spiritual. Wherever you go in the world, whether it be: South America, Africa or Asia, you will find totems, shrines & temples. You will find reptile-faced gods, dragon-gods, beast faces, and fat golden men sitting in the lotus position. And before these debased gods, you will find throngs of worshippers.
North Americans are not exempt from idolatry. We are famous for the Mr. Potato-Head god. These worshippers are multiplied across the land, with many found in a church building on any given Sunday. They exchange the parts to make God to be anything they want him to be. But this god doesn’t exist. He is carved out in the imagination. In this debased religion, God is made in man’s image, not we in His!
“These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:22–23)
Whenever you imagine a god different the One and Only God of the Bible, you have carved an idol.
3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Have you every heard Jesus’ name used as a curse word? Sure you have--all the time! Hitler is one of he most hated men in history, but his name is not used in profanity. Yet, Jesus Christ, who died for the world, is the name of choice to use when swearing.
But the greatest use of the Lord's name in vain is the one who carries the name of Christ but acts in a conduct that betrays him. As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." Romans 2:24
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
Christians do not observe the Sabbath on Saturday as the Jews did. In honor of Christ's resurrection on the first day of the week, the earliest Christians began worshipping on Sundays instead.
Sunday should be as important to Christians as the Sabbath was to the Jews.
Biblical history shows, that when the Jews began to neglect the Sabbath, they lost the core of who they were in God. When they began to leave Sabbath worship to pursue gain or pleasure, they invisibly and unnoticeably, little by little, exchanged God for self.
History will show that a people who forget the Lord’s Day are a people who forget the Lord.
Read Exodus 20-12-13
5. “Honor your father and your mother.” The Holy Spirit reminds us in the New Testament that this is first commandment with a promise. ““that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:3) It doesn’t matter how great, good, mediocre or bad your parents might be. Give them honor and God will honor you. Young people, Do you honor your parents or despise them, lie to them, disrespect them, or talk back to them? Don’t let this be. It hurts them. And know this, it will hurt you.
Let us give a word to the parents today: Live a life that is honorable. If you do not refrain from lying, don’t be surprised that your children become adults who have no regard for the truth. If you show no self–control with temper, alcohol, the need to buy stuff—don’t be surprised when they grow up flying off the handle all the time, or become substance abusers, or lovers of things instead of a lovers of God.
6. “You shall not murder.” Many have found peace on this command. Many good citizens have said, “I have never murdered.” (And we thank God for that.) But Jesus pointed to something deeper that might reveal a false peace for many: ““You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21–22, NKJV)
He spoke to all of us when he pointed out that murder begins in the heart.
Have you ever hated someone? Know this: Cain hated Abel, before he killed him. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15, NKJV)
Let none of us be self-righteous in our culture: We have a whole political party that has murder in its platform: The so-called “woman’s right to choose” while sounding very libertine, neglects to point out that when such a choice is pursued a human loses a life. God have mercy on our nation and those who are blind to this truth.
Read Exodus 20:14-17
7. “You shall not commit adultery.” Marriage matters to God. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4, NKJV) When God declares the marriage bed undefiled, he declares any sexual recreation outside of a marriage between a man and woman to be defiled.
A relationship that doesn’t honor God in sexual purity is a relationship He cannot bless.
Not only does marriage matter to God, sexual immorality matters to God. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says to “flee from sexual immorality" as it will bring a curse upon one's own body. 1 Thessalonians 4:4-6 declares that sexual immorality not only sins against one's self, but against someone else, as well.
Jesus said, sexual immorality begins in the heart. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28, NKJV)
That is why we need new hearts. That is something only Jesus can give.
8. “You shall not steal.” Stealing is taking something that doesn’t belong to you. It is withholding something that belongs to someone else. Stealing is not returning something you have borrowed. Stealing is finding something that is not yours and not making an effort to find the owner. It is vandalizing someone else’s property. It is lying on an insurance claim. It is claiming a disability when you have none for personal gain. It is breaking someone’s property and not reimbursing. Stealing is swindling, cheating or keeping extra change that isn’t yours. It doesn’t matter the value. Judas was a thief who stole from the moneybag but God saw him. Every thief I have ever known is also a liar. Ananias and Saphira sold some property and misrepresented it as a whole gift to the church. It was theirs to keep or giveaway. But lying about their gift made them a thief in their giving.
Speaking of lying…
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Some are pretty skilled at lying about others. They may cleverly pretend kindness while suggesting that someone else is less than they are. A man will undercut another man to make himself look better in game, competition or in business. Oftentimes, as we see with mean girls, slander, tale-bearing, gossip and character assassination comes in handy for the purpose of controlling friendships. She is always maneuvering the weak-minded through false testimony to keep herself at center of every other girl’s affection and attention. And if you should resist her lies, prepare to get lied on. Like Potiphar’s wife, she hates righteous people because they reject her control and call out her sin.
Just as there was no shortage of men or women to lie on Jesus in that kangaroo court they hauled Him into, there is still no shortage of men and women eager to bear false witness for impure motivation.
10. “You shall not covet…” To covet is to crave or desire something that is not yours. Coveting is the most overlooked and underestimated of all the commandments even though it is at the root of: Adam and Eve’s sin, Cain’s sin and all the way to the sin of Judas. They all coveted and it swung wide the door to every other sin and irreparable harm.
Read Exodus 19:16-20
Mount Sinai towers over every human soul. Its tall rocky crags threaten to fall on those who would travel up to it. From it come flashes of lightning with thick cloud. A trumpet sounds from it making the earth and those upon it tremble and quake. Sinai is the Law.
Only Moses, a type of Christ, may come up to it. He is a mediator. He stands between the perfect righteousness of holy God and the imperfect state of unholy man.
We are all born under the law. We will all fail to keep the law. And without Christ, we will die under the law. No man can be saved by obeying the law.
Christ, the son of man, is also born under the Law.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4, TNIV)
His life fulfilled the law perfectly.
We can’t fulfill it. But He can and He did: ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17, TNIV)
He is the end of the law
When Christ was upon the cross, Sinai poured out upon Him the penalty we deserve. Christ satisfied justice putting and end to the law, giving grace to those who look to him! “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4, NKJV)
Sinai is death. Christ is Life.
Before the Ten Commandments are laid out in Exodus 20, there is a declarative truth in verse one: “I am the Lord YOUR God…” These are a people already in relationship to God. “who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” These are a people already redeemed. While the law shows us all our need for Christ, it also shows us that grace has been at work to lead us to this encounter at Sinai. Here we will see the perfection of God, and with that backdrop, we clearly see the sinful imperfection of our own hearts. We cannot be justified by obeying the Law. The Law is a schoolmaster that leads us to Christ where we are saved by faith in Him.
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24, NKJV)
Look to Him and be saved.