04 November 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 19:1-20:26

In our passage today, God gives clear instructions (in the form of the Ten Commandments) to the Israelites. He calls them to  holy living, and then He tells them exactly how to do this.

Before giving the Ten Commandments, God renews His covenant with His people. The covenant promises three blessings if they obey God. They will be His treasured possession, they will be a nation of priests and they will be a holy nation. But God promises curses if they disobey. The people respond by promising to obey God. But we’ll see later that they can’t keep this promise.

Then God prepares the people for His appearance. He instructs the people to prepare themselves to see God’s holiness. He tells them to be cleansed, be pure, be careful and be listening.

God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses, who then shares them with the people. The Ten Commandments are God’s moral law. They are universal laws for the whole world, not just for Christians.

Commandments one to four show us how to live in our relationship with God, while commandments five to 10 show us how to live in our relationships with other people:

  1. Do not have other gods before God. Put God first in everything. No object, person or thing should come before God.
  2. Do not worship idols. God is jealous. He wants the exclusive rights to our love.
  3. Do not misuse God’s name. The name of God represents the nature of God.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. The Sabbath is for God not me. Don’t treat the Sabbath like the other six days of the week.
  5. Honor your father and mother. Speak about them with respect and courtesy.
  6. Do not murder. God considers life to be precious.
  7. Do not commit adultery.
  8. Do not steal. Do not unjustly take what belongs to someone else.
  9. Do not bear false witness against someone. No gossiping, no lies, don’t twist the truth.
  10. Do not covet, which is wanting what someone else has.

Later, Jesus summarizes the Ten Commandments in Matthew 22:37-39:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The Ten Commandments are the standard for everyday life. But they also reveal God’s character. He gave us these rules so we know how to live holy lives for Him. Obeying these commandments does not bring salvation. Obeying these commandments is living out our gratitude to God for saving us from eternal death.

Since our own sinfulness is revealed in the Ten Commandments, we realize that a holy and righteous God cannot be approached by sinful people, except when we are given His righteousness through Jesus’ death. The commandments convict us of sin and reveal how much we need a Savior.

We might look pretty good when we compare ourselves to others. But we always fail when we compare ourselves to God. So God provides Jesus, who kept the law perfectly. He makes us right when we accept that Jesus died as the substitute for our punishment. When God looks at believers, He does not see our sins but Jesus’ righteousness.

Things to Think About

  • You see your own sinfulness when you see God’s holiness.
  • Am I too casual in my approach to God?
  • Which of the Ten Commandments has God convicted me of disobeying? Ask God to help me be obedient.