Link: Exodus 20:1-17
Discuss rules and laws. Why do we have them? What rules do we have around our house, our school? Why do we obey God’s rules? What happens when we do not obey God's rules?
BBC BACKGROUND: Exodus 20
The Decalogue reflected the pattern of a contemporary royal (suzerain) treaty. It had a preamble where the king identified himself, followed by a historical prologue in which the king identified his previous gracious acts toward his subjects. God does this by stating,"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (20:2).
The third part of a treaty involved the stipulations that are to be obeyed. God's stipulations in the treaty with His people are the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments were all about the relationship of the Israelites with God. The other six dealt with their relationships within their community.
The Scarlet Thread of Redemption!
Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). I thought it would be beneficial to compare each commandment with Jesus' own words:
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
COMMANDMENT 1: "You shall have no other gods before Me"
Matthew 4:10: "You SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY"
COMMANDMENT 2: "You shall not make for yourself an idol "
Luke 16:13: "No servant can serve two masters"
COMMANDMENT 3: "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain"
Matthew 5:34:"Make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God"
COMMANDMENT 4: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy"
Mark 2:27,28: "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath"
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS
COMMANDMENT 5: "Honor your father and your mother"
Matthew 10:37: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me"
COMMANDMENT 6: "You shall not murder"
Matthew 5:22: "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court"
COMMANDMENT 7: "You shall not commit adultery"
Matthew 5:28: "Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart"
COMMANDMENT 8: "You shall not steal"
Matthew 5:40: "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also"
COMMANDMENT 9: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"
Matthew 12:36: "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment"
COMMANDMENT 10: "You shall not covet"
Luke 12:15: "Be on your guard against every form of greed"
(Adapted from the Life Application Bible, p. 137)
I am challenged today to pray through the Ten Commandments and examine my life in light of them and the words Jesus gave regarding them. I have had a bookmark for years entitled "Let Your Prayers be Guided by the Ten Commandments." I am adapting this as I close in prayer today.
1. Lord, I pray that You will be worshiped above all else in our land and throughout the world.
2. I ask that You reveal our nation's idolatry as well as our own individual idolatry.
3. Lord, may Your name be honored and glorified, and I ask that You give us a fresh conviction about words of our mouth that dishonor You.
4. I praise You that there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God and in Jesus there is rest! I pray that Your people will set an example of a Sabbath rest in You to the outside world.
5. I pray that we would honor and respect the parents that You have given us by our words and actions of love.
6. Lord, show us where anger has led us to murder others in our hearts. Forgive us. Teach us to love others.
7. Lord, I pray that you would guide and put a hedge of protection around all the marriages of the people reading this. I pray that you would restore the sanctity of the marriage bond in our world.
8. I pray that we would have a healthy respect for others in terms of their personal property and also in terms of their time.
9. Lord, please make us honest in all our dealings with others. Make us men and women of impeccable integrity to an outside and watching world.
10. Lord, root out the greed in our lives, break the grip that materialism has on us and the lives of our children. Help us to be people who understand that it is better to give than to receive. Pray we would be givers not only of our material possessions but even our lives.