Ten Commands

The Narrative Lectionary texts this week are Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17. These are some initial thoughts looking ahead to Sunday.

The giving of the ten commands is a prolific shift in culture and community that affects us even today.  The posting of the Ten Commands in public places has become controversial.  Last June in Little Rock a privately funded 6 foot tall statue of the commands was placed on the grounds of the Capitol. It cost more than $26,000. Less than 24 hours later Michael Tate Reed drove his car into it while filming it on his cellphone and posting the video on Facebook. It was destroyed. (Link). There were other objections also. The commands relate to the importance of loving God and loving others.

In my life within churches of Christ I was taught that we are not obligated to keep the Ten Commandments as such because they were a part of the Old Covenant. I was also taught that Jesus taught nine of the ten commands, so, in effect, we are to keep them. Precise, I suppose.

Law. Humans rebel against laws. It’s our nature. Adam and Eve had one law and failed to keep it. We break laws all the time and hope we don’t get caught. Has anyone driven over the speed limit lately ? I rest my case. The Israelites affirm here that they will keep this covenant, but Bible students know it won’t be long until they are bowing before a golden calf.  We struggle with laws, we want to jump fences, we long to push the limits, we cross boundaries even when we know it will hurt us or others. We run over the commands in more ways than one.

All of which ought to motivate us to be in love with God’s law, and more specifically the God of the law. The law can’t save our souls but it can save us a lot of heartache.  It is for our good to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it (Psalm 1).

As disciples of Jesus we love the law and word of God. Jesus quoted Scripture (Hebrew Bible) often. He calls us to love a God and one another with everything we have. What would call us from being lawbreakers to law lovers? When we see the benefits of living according to God’s framework for civilization we are drawn to Him. They are “…For your own good” (Deuteronomy 10:13).

Once we become Christians we are called out of a life of being commandment wreckers to being commandment keepers. Inasmuch as we fail, we remain dependent upon the God who is faithful to us and covers us with Grace.

The man who ran over the Ten Commandment statue was acquitted recently due to mental illness. Not everyone who hates the commands are mentally ill. But I would propose that loving God, resting, respecting our parents, respecting the lives of all humans, and loving our neighbors are all the basis of a well adjusted mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy life. God knows us well!

Thanks for reading. JED

You are welcome to join our group discussing the Narrative Lectionary here: