Read Deuteronomy 5:1-33
Most of Moses’ listeners had been teenagers when that mountain burned with fire before them. But they had seen the mountain’s firey glow for themselves! They had heard the very voice of God give the Ten Commandments!
Even though they were young, the experience had impacted them deeply. They were amazed that they hadn’t died. In fact, they were struck with the fear that they still might die . . . so they invited Moses and God to continue the conversation without them. And, not least of all, they committed themselves to strict obedience to the Commandments.
Those Ten, sometimes called the Decalogue, are still central today. Though given in the Old Testament, they are underscored and/or explained in the New. A closer look at them reminds us that those two tablets are like an expanded clarification of what Jesus declared to be the “Great Commandments” (Matt. 22:34-40).
You see, you “love the Lord your God with all your heart…” by giving attention to the first four:
- Give exclusive priority to Him.
- Don’t represent Him with manmade objects.
- Honor His name.
- Observe the Sabbath principle.
Meanwhile, a starting place for you as you seek to “love your neighbor as yourself” is found in the last six:
5. Honor parents.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Be sexually pure.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t lie.
10. Don’t covet.
The Israelites had committed themselves to these commandments 40 years earlier. But they and their parents had quickly learned the impossibility of observing them. Just days after their commitment, they violated the second commandment by making an image representing God. And undoubtedly through those years they observed and committed countless other violations of the Ten.
Chances are, you have too!
We must realize that commandments like these have a two-fold purpose. Yes, they express the heart of God and His desires for us. They give us the target to aim at. But through them . . . and our inability to keep them . . . they point us to the necessity of Christ and His cross.
“…the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24