You shall have no other gods before me. . . . You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. . . . Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . . Honor your father and your mother. . . . You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet.
Exodus 20:1-17 (selected verses)
The Ten Commandments
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These are scary words. They are so scary that after the Lord spoke these words to the people of Israel from the top of Mt. Sinai, they asked that Moses speak to them and not God. Most people know these words as the Ten Commandments. These are God’s righteous demands on all people. Jesus summarized them by saying, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37,39). But who does that? No one!
And not keeping these commandments is no small thing. God says, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law” (Galatians 3:10). No wonder the people of Israel didn’t like to hear these words. They offer no comfort, no relief, no hope. But that is their power. That is their purpose.
Having condemned us as law-breaking sinners, that same God who thundered down the Ten Commandments says with a tenderness that only this God can have, “I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). God sent his Son, Jesus, to take on our sins against the Ten Commandments and pay for them with his death on the cross. “God was reconciling the world unto himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19). “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
The Ten Commandments are scary words. But they are also beautiful words because they chase us to Jesus.
For all the times I have broken your Ten Commandments, Lord, I ask you to forgive me. I am confident of your forgiveness because of what Jesus did for me. Amen.
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