Ten Commandments, by Melissa Gibbs

Ten Commandments, Exodus 20-22:15

No doubt the highlight to pull out today is the listing of the Ten Commandments. Why do I wait until almost 1:00 AM to try and summarize the Ten Commandments! Because I chose to watch the 3-hour final episode of Survivor (recorded before Thanksgiving), that I had not yet had time to watch. Spoiler alert, Russell did not win!

The first four of the ten commandments deal with man's relationship to God. We must have no other god but Him and must not worship any graven image. We tend to think think of this commandment as an "easy" one. We don't believe in Buddha or any of the Hindu gods and we don't have statues in our homes that we bow before. But an idol in our day and time, is anything that is put before God. Modern idols include money, possessions, career, children, status, physical appearance, youth, etc. All the worldly things we chase at the expense of our relationship with God. Idolatry is very much alive and well.

The third commandment, not to misuse the name of the Lord, is one that is routinely abused, even by Christians. The ancient Jews, and many to this day, so revere the name of the Lord, that they would not speak it or write it. You may have seen Jews type the letters YHWH or G_d, because they consider God's name too holy to spell out in it's entirety. We have lost that sense of reverence. The New Testament presents Jesus as such an approachable Friend, that we have forgotten the holiness of God. The careless use of His name is one symptom of that lack of respect. And by careless, I don't just mean profanity. The thoughtless utterance "OMG" carries the same weight.

The observance of the Sabbath is a subject I'd like to do some more research on. New Testament believers worship on Sunday instead of Saturday, but that is the least of our differences as it regards the Sabbath observance. The Hebrews did no work on the Sabbath, and prided themselves on the strict observance of that rule. In addition to the Scriptues, the Hebrews developed a collection of oral traditions detailing the minutiae of the Law and codified into a book in the 2nd century AD, called the Mishnah. These traditions were man-made extrapolations of the written Law. The fourth commandment had stipulations attached to it that regulated how much weight could be lifted (nothing heavier than a dried fig),what could be saved in a house fire, and what could be eaten (not an egg laid on the Sabbath!) The common man did not pay much heed to these restrictions in Jesus' day, but the Pharisees did. It was this group that criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, and His disciples for picking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus was quick to point out that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath", (Mark 2:27). So it is clearly wrong to obey the letter of the law above the intent, but in our day, we really don't do either. Sure we go to church, but do we set aside our regular work and activities on Sunday? Speaking for myself, I still throw in a load of clothes, cook dinner, and go to one of my son's basketball games in the evenings. Furthermore, my husband works in NASCAR and is at work almost every Sunday. Jesus' death and resurrection freed us from the legalism of the Jewish religion, but are we to throw out the baby with the bath water? Please weigh in on this discussion if this is an area in which you have some insight.

The remaining 6 commandments deal with man's relationship to each other and they are pretty straight-forward. We are to honor our parents. This was largely abandoned by my generation, reared by the parents of the late 60s and 70s who wanted to be our friends and who didn't want to create negative energy or suppress our creativity or self-confidence through discipline. How many of you heard your parents say "I would never have spoken to my mother the way you are speaking to me!" And it is worse now than it was then. Teachers, police officers, and authority figures in general do not command the respect of today's youth. So, the summation of my soapbox, is that we are not doing so well with this commandment either.

"You must not murder". No problem, but what about war and capital punishment? I'm not saying I'm for it, but the word used for "kill" is better translated "murder" and implies a criminal act...predatory killing if you will. This verb is never used in regard to war or capital punishment, both of which the Old Testament endorses (for lack of a better word).

"You must not commit adultery". Obvious in this context and illuminated later by Jesus statement that if a man looks upon a woman with lust in his heart, he has committed adultery. The OT gives the Law, and the NT gives the spirit of the Law.

"You must not steal", "you must not testify falsely", and "you must not covet". These are all pretty self-explanatory, but tougher to live by when the "spirit of the Law" is taken into account. Sure, we don't rob banks, but do we make photocopies at work for personal use? Do we return to the grocery store an item for which we weren't charged on our receipt? Do we "round up"our charitable contributions estimate on our income taxes? That's stealing. We may not testify falsely under oath in a courtroom, but do we lie? White lies or otherwise? And we may not think we covet anything our neighbor has, but are we envious of how nicely her husband treats her? Or how amazing his new car is? Of course we do.

As we read in the New Testament, the Law can be summed up in two phrases..."love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (commandments 1-4) and "love your neighbor as yourself" (commandments 5-10). Sounds pretty simple, but the Israelites would soon find out that these two things are completely unattainable for sinful man.

About Melissa Gibbs:

 Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches.

 Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/.

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