How Should we look at the Ten Commandments Today?

We have grown up with the term “the ten commandments” without actually knowing what they say or if there really are just ten of them. We have been taught by our parents, the church, movies, and cartoons that God gave Israel, not us, the ten commandments. 

The word commandment also has a negative connotation for some people. They view it as a do or don’t command, which puts them under the law. And of course, for them Jesus voided the law, so they don’t have to keep any of them.

How Should we look at the Ten Commandments Today?

Do you think this is what God had in mind when He first spoke these words?

As if that wasn’t enough. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find the numbering of the ten commandments differ based on whether you’re Catholic, Christian, or Jewish. When you look at where they start and end their numbering you’ll see how they viewed Exodus 20.

On top of all of this, we have been bombarded with the phrase, “the law of Moses” as if God had nothing to do with it all. Let’s see what really happened and whose laws these belong to.

God Spoke

Whenever someone makes a contract or business agreement they first speak with one another. They hash out the conditions. Then they write it down and sign it, letting everyone who sees the contract they both agreed to the terms. 

Contracts, business agreements, and other pacts are simple forms of a covenant. 

In Exodus 19, the people agree to obey and do what God says without even knowing exactly what was going to be asked of them. The benefit of obeying and doing His will allowed them to become a treasured people, a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation. 

God further instructed the people to sanctify themselves for three days so they can come together and talk about some conditions of the covenant they were creating with one another. 

Exodus 20 starts the conversation by God speaking to the children of Israel. Not just to Moses or the leaders, but to all the people who came out of the land of Egypt.

Exodus 20:1 starts out with, “God spoke all of these words, saying.” He never says here are ten commandments for you to obey. He opens the dialogue by reminding them of who He is and what He has already done for them as their God. 

He wants them to remember how He defeated every major Egyptian god that held them captive; how He led them safely across the water depths; and how he fed them along the way. First and foremost, remember who He is!

Then He tells them some things they can’t do that would offend Him and cause Him to become angry. Unlike the Egyptian gods, they would never have to wonder what pleased or displeased Him. He was an open book before them.

Order of Operation - God's Way

Next he tells them to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it set apart. Not only did He rest on the seventh day, but He wanted His children to rest too. He wanted them to know He wasn’t a slave driver. He loved them. They were His children, whom He had chosen, not slaves to be discarded.

He moves on to honoring parents with a blessing attached to it. Here they are transitioning from their relationship to God and from how they treat themselves to their relationship with others. 

Relationships start in the home, whether they’re good or bad. God tells Israel to honor their parents. They had to endure watching their children die or being raised by someone else. They endured watching their children get weak under the oppression of slavery. They were battle worn.  

By honoring parents and considering their needs, they would live a long life on the earth. This is the first saying with a promise attached to it and it involved how they treated someone else.

He ends with several things not to do to other people, whether in their household or not. This way peace and tranquility can be their lot. 

The Heart of God

As you can see, these are things on God’s heart. It’s not a list of do this or don’t do that or else you’re going to pay badly for it. It’s a Father giving solid advice to His children for them to prosper and be in health, even as their soul prospered. He had a plan for them to live in abundance, joy, and peace. 

He even showed them the order of operation in order to achieve all of this. First, commit to Him. Place Him first in your life. Then take care of yourself. You can’t help anyone if you’re down. Finally, treat others like you would treat yourself. 

Unfortunately, we have gotten the order of operation backwards. This is why so many people are frustrated, unfulfilled, and struggling. We take care of everyone else first. Then ourselves if we think about it. And God last because He understands what we are going through. 

He understands all right. He understands we didn’t follow the pattern and now we are reaping what we sowed. 

As long as you’re alive you can always turn this pattern around to its original pattern to get things back on track. God is waiting for you and me. Don’t be discouraged about whatever it is you’re going through. He wants to help you get back on track. Trust Him. 

How do you understand Exodus 20? Do you feel you have gotten off track? Do you think you can make the decision to get back on the right track, starting with God first? Tell us in the comments.

Love Dawn

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