We are now at week eight of our journey through Exodus
And this week we are looking at the ten commandments, last week it was water from the rock and this week we continue the journey and look the ten commandments, God’s guide for a good life.
But first let’s pray.
Open our ears, O Lord, to hear your word and know your voice.
Speak to our hearts and strengthen our wills, that we may have soft hearts and open ears for your word.
And may my words be your words not my own, Amen
So, Moses has been chosen by God and after he struggled to get out of the job, he Moses is told that in effect God is going to give Pharaoh a hard time and really wind him up until his hard hart breaks, in the end Pharaoh said you and your people can go, and the people are free of their slavery, then Pharaoh changes his mind the Israelites lose their faith but God rescues them and Pharaoh and loses his army in the red sea. So, exit Pharaoh. Then the song of Moses and Miriam, which is a praise song to God, but now the grumbling starts and the lack of faith in God starts and the lack of any worship to God, but we saw God’s grace and love for them.
And then the bit we missed was God helping Israelites defeat the Amalekites again through his faithful servant Moses.
And this week we are looking at God’s guide for a good life.
But I must admit when I looked at this title and reading I thought what can I say about something so well known, why do need to look at something so well known the answer is - Because we need to be reminded of God’s standards of right and wrong and because we misunderstand the nature and purpose of the ten commandments.
So, why study the ten commandments?
This is a good question for any Christian to ask.
In today’s society we need to be reminded of God’s standards of right and wrong.
Our world has forgotten these basic standards that God has so lovingly provided.
In a report in the Christian Post just over a year ago it said that.
Most Britons believe that only six of the Ten Commandments are relevant today, and Christians are split over whether some, like the Commandment to not worship other gods, are essential to their faith, according to a new survey.
A YouGov research poll released at the same time found that 93 percent of Britons still find the Commandments against murder and stealing to be fundamental.
Another 87 percent agreed that “you shall not bear false witness against other people” is still relevant, along with 73 percent who agreed with the Commandment against adultery.
Sixty-nine percent said that honouring one’s father and mother is important,
along with 61 percent who said the same for not coveting other people’s possessions.
But only 31 percent said that not worshiping idols is still essential, and 23 percent agreed with not using God’s name in vain. Only 20 percent agreed with not worshiping other gods, and only 19 percent said that keeping the Sabbath day holy is paramount.
The survey noted that 43 percent of Christians say that the Commandment against worshiping idols is important, with 38 percent of believers also backing the Commandment against using God’s name in vain.
Only 36 percent of Christians said that not worshiping other gods is relevant, and 31 percent said that keeping the Sabbath holy is crucial.
The survey was conducted between Oct. 10–11 2017, with a sample size of 1,680 British adults, including 638 Christians.
Some time ago Christianity Today reported that, “…as a book, the Bible has been removed from the reading lists of students so that they can barely recognise metaphors from great novels written before 1950.”
The article told of a professor who reported that her students were not at all familiar with literary references to the stories of “Jonah” or “the prodigal son.”
Because of this she was forced to change her lesson plan and go back to square one and tell them these stories so that they could then understand the underlying themes of the books they analysed.
Well, Due in part to this biblical illiteracy our children are growing up in a society that rejects the notions of absolute truth and morality. They live in a world that has forgotten God’s basic standards and as a result they have lost the ability to even decide what is true and right.
Truth has become a matter of taste, morality has been replaced by individual preference.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Chris and I love the series Suits on Netflix it is about corporate lawyers in New York, and we think it is very entertaining, but when I thought of it in relation to Gods commandments, I realised just how ill moral it really is. We are on series five and I will just go through the list and the way the series deals with them or does not, you can properly think of your own favourite shows and do the same thing.
1.You shall have no other gods before Me.
Well in this show it is the god of money and I myself that is put before God.
2.You shall make no idols.
Again, money and possessions and power.
3.You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
I have lost count have many times the name of God and Jesus were taken in vain.
4.Keep the Sabbath day holy.
It is all about work, work, work, there are never any conversations about your weekend or anything to do with rest.
5. Honour your father and your mother.
This one is kept although lightly.
6.You shall not murder.
This again is kept.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
There is no regard to the hurt that adultery will cause, as long as I am happy.
8. You shall not steal.
It is ok to steal from you, it proves I am smarter because I use the law to do it.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
Again, its ok as long as I hide under law.
10. You shall not covet.
You got what I want, and I will get it no matter what it takes.
Now I know this is not real life, or at least I hope that on law frim in the world works this way.
But the fact that this very popular tv show only keeps two of the ten commandments Honour your father and your mother. And you shall not murder, should be telling us that tragically, ours is a culture that has forgotten — or at least chosen to ignore — God’s rules of right and wrong. We have not heeded the warning in
Proverbs 3:7 where it says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” Instead society makes up its own rules…we are “wise in our own eyes.”
Today’s society can be a very dangerous one in which to live, it is one in which people make up their own rules. There is little or no belief in an absolute truth that applies to everyone. We live in a world today where many people follow Hugh Hefners’ philosophy the creed that says, “If it feels good do it.”
In his book, Right From Wrong, Josh McDowell writes, “Our children seldom hear the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ from [films, TV or Songs].
Instead they are bombarded with thousands of hours of sounds and images that romanticise corruption and mock biblical values.
McDowell says ” Much of this thinking of moral doctrine is rooted in the teachings of the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzche who argued that, “languages of good and evil are rooted in neither truth nor reason but in the will to power.”
Nietzche’s philosophy is partially to blame for the establishment of the Nazi party and the subsequent annihilation of six million Jews. Over five million Soviet civilians, three million Soviet prisoners of war, 1.8 million Non-Jewish Polish civilians, over 300,00 Serb civilians, 250,000 People with disabilities living in institutions, over 200,00 Roma (Gypsies) and lots more and that is not including those killed in the conflict.
Well, this same philosophy is alive and well in our world today.
So, the answer to the question is we need to study the 10 Commandments because we live in a society that desperately needs to be reminded of God’s
standards of right and wrong. And as Christians we need to be sure that we are influenced by God’s standards and not the world’s.
Also I think we need to study the ten commandments because many of us misunderstand the nature and purpose of the 10 Commandment.
The very word “commandment” has a negative suggestion to us; when independent-minded humans like you and me think of rules and regulations. We tend to think of burdens. People think that by their very nature God’s laws are restrictive limits to our freedom. And this view of the ten commandments plays right into the enemy’s master plan-the one he’s had from the beginning. You see he has always wanted mankind to believe that God is a spoilsport that He is THE cosmic killjoy a harsh old grandfather with a long, grey beard and bushy eyebrows. Who doesn’t want anyone to have any fun .EVER!
In the bible in the Garden of Eden when the devil spoke to Eve and said in essence, “Has God REALLY forbidden you this lovely fruit? Oh my. What a pity. What a shame. You realize of course, Eve, that He knows if you ever tasted from this tree, you’d be like a god. Nothing could hold you back. God wants to keep you from the truly best part of life! Eve, true freedom means freedom FROM confining restrictions such as these.”
Well was the devil, right? Are these 17 verses from Exodus 20 harsh and negative narrow and legalistic cold and confining?
No! — In fact they are just the opposite. God’s laws bring freedom not captivity. They are not cold and harsh, they are warm and loving. God gave us commands like “Flee sexual immorality,” and “Husbands love your wives,” and “You shall not commit adultery,” because He wanted to protect us. He didn’t throw His principles into the Bible just because He liked the way they sounded; He didn’t develop those rules to throw His weight around;
No He gave those commands because He loves us and He knows some things that we don’t. He knows that sexual immorality is a path, not to pleasure and fulfilment but to emptiness and frustration.
The commandments are not always easy to keep. But they are never unnecessary or purely random. God doesn’t force us to observe meaningless formalities, nor does He impose rules that have no value. On the contrary, every guideline, every law, in the Bible was crafted in infinite wisdom. They were given not only to honour God, but to benefit us as well.” In Jeremiah 29:11 God says to you and me, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
So God’s law is not negative in nature it’s purpose is not to burden us but to protect us. The Ten Commandments are given for our own good.
The nature of the ten commandments is not harsh or unloving. I think that the ten commandments would be best compared to a heartfelt message written in stone by the finger of God. In fact, this set of laws is one of the most powerful expressions of God’s love in all of Scripture.
Even the context of the Decalogue shows this truth.
Listen to the things God said immediately prior to the giving of His law. Exodus 19:3-6 God says, in essence “Before you give the people these commands before anything else, will you please remind them that I bore them on eagles’ wings?
Remind them that I cared for them in their Egyptian oppression as a mother eagle cares for her offspring. Remind them that I heard their cries and freed them from slavery make sure they remember that when the Egyptian army attacked, I parted the Red Sea I made a way when there was no way.
Make sure you remind them of my loving care Moses.”
So these ten laws sprang from the tender love of God for His people. If we have children we give them rules because we want them to be safe and happy we don’t want to limit the children’s freedom and prevent them from having any fun? We do it because we love them and want them to be happy and healthy and safe.
Well this parental love was also the motivation for God’s giving of His laws. And His love for us is infinitely greater than our love for our own children. Do you remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 ? He said, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for fish will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”
God loves us and doesn’t want us to learn by bitter experience so He has given us His word to guide us and protect us.to help us avoid the destructive paths in life.
So, why study the ten commandments? Because in today’s culture we need to be reminded of this timeless truth from the heart of God and also. Because we tend to misunderstand the nature and purpose of these commands. We need to know they are given both to protect us and to provide God’s best for us.
God shows his love for us in the ten commandments and in sending His son Jesus to pay the price for us when we fall short as we all do. Jesus paid the price lets work to keep Gods laws not the worlds.
Lord thank you for your love for us as shown through the ten commandments and through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us. Help us Lord through your Holy Spirit to live up to your love.
In Jesus name we pray, amen.