How well do you follow rules or instructions?
And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land 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 give false testimony against your neighbour.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honoured, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’
The Ten Commandments are well-known to most people, Christian or not. It is the list of rules that sums up the right way to behave towards God and people. God instructed Moses to give the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, so they would live faithfully as God’s people and follow him. However, before we get too caught up in the Ten Commandments and the rules that have been given – it is important and very significant to look at the start of chapter 20. The chapter starts by God declaring who he is – “I am the LORD your God” – and what he has done – “who bought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (verse 2). God had just rescued the Israelites from hundreds of years of slavery subjected by the Egyptians. The Israelites were his chosen people through the covenant that he had made generations ago with Abraham. God brought them into a state of salvation that was only brought about by his own doing. God rescued them.
Why do I find this significant? Because God rescued the Israelites before giving them the law. It was not a case in slavery of “follow these rules and then I will rescue you”. God demonstrated his faithfulness and grace towards the Israelites regardless of their actions. Therefore, the Israelites’ actions did not make salvation possible – salvation was entirely God’s doing. Starting the passage with this declaration highlights and emphasises God’s relationship with his people as their Rescuer. How amazing is that! The Ten Commandments are significant in that they show the Israelites how they should be living as God’s people in relationship with him because of who he is as their Rescuer.
And this story is our story as well. God demonstrated his faithfulness and grace towards all people through Jesus at the cross, despite our actions – our sinfulness. We are saved by God’s grace through faith alone. We are saved to live our lives as a testimony. To live as God’s people in relationship with him, and be witnesses of God’s amazing faithfulness and grace. Let’s live lives of faith and trust in Jesus, with our actions shaped by who we know our faithful and gracious God to be.
Head: What do you find significant about the Ten Commandments? What have you been taught about the Ten Commandments?
Heart: What motivates me to obey God? What part does God as Rescuer (in Jesus) play in that motivation?
Hands: How are you going to be a witness of your relationship with God today? What do you need to work on to show his grace and faithfulness to others?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I am in awe of your desire to be in relationship with us and the extent of what you have done in Jesus to do so. Thank you for saving us despite our sinfulness. Thank you for your grace and faithfulness to us. Help us to continue to seek after you, to live our lives as your people. May we remember who you are and all that you’ve done for us today and always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Grace Alone
Ellen Watters – Living Church Creek Road
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Bible in 10 series in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years