Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 10 Commandments Revisited

It seems that everyone has heard of the Ten Commandments. But have you looked at them lately? 'The Message' is a more recent translation of the Bible. Let's see how the ten commandments sound in that version. It's found in Exodus 20:1-17

#1. I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery.No other gods, only me.
#2. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
#3. No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.
#4. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
#5. Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.
#6. No murder
#7. No adultery
#8. No stealing
#9. No lies about your neighbor
#10. No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

Here's my condensed Christian version of the Ten Commandments.
#1. There is only one true God
#2. Don't worship anything but the Lord, or put anything above Him in importance or priority
#3. Don't use the name of God, or Jesus, in a senseless, meaningless, irreverent way
#4. Make the Lord's Day a special day - attend a worship service with other believers
#5. Always respect your parents
#6. Do not kill another person
#7. Do not commit adultery
#8. Do not steal
#9. Do not lie to anyone
#10. Do not desire anything or anyone that is not yours

And here's how I sum up the Ten Commandments, in paragraph style....

We must believe there is one true God, and He must be the highest priority in our lives. Our faith, our hope, our security, and our trust must be in nothing or no one else. Even His name is holy, and when we use the name of God or Jesus in a meaningless way, like an expression of surprise, or as a curse word, it's offensive to Him, and shows disrespect. Make sure that for you, each Sunday is considered to be the Lord's Day, and make it a priority to attend a worship service to purposely focus on Him. Respect your Mom and Dad. Family is important. And realize there are some basic things that are absolutely wrong in God's sight - like murder, adultery, stealing, or lying. And be content with what you have. Don't lust after what someone else has. That not only includes their possessions, but their spouse as well! God is a loving God, but He is also a just God. And to those who are in an obedient, loving relationship with Him, He extends His love, His mercy, and His faithfulness. 

Yes, I know, the Ten Commandments were in the Old Testament. But these principles still have truth and value. And it's true, we must remember the context. God needed to sustain a nation - the nation of Israel. That's because a Messiah was to come through that nation. So God gave laws to try to keep the nation of Israel from falling apart. He did everything to keep them intact through the ages, including miracles. It was all so that Jesus could come through that nation, fulfilling all the prophecies, and complete the plan - dying on the cross to bring us a way of salvation and forgiveness. And bringing us into a new era  - the era of grace, not law.

So, take the Ten Commandments as foundational principles that still are relevant. The God that gave these commandments is the same God that exists today. And Jesus did not do away with the Ten Commandments, He expanded on them. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was on earth, someone asked Him what He thought was the most important of all the commandments. Jesus gave a great answer that covered everything like an umbrella, for if we follow the answer that Jesus gave, everything else falls in place under it, including the principles of the Ten Commandments. 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

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