We have talked about Unconditional Covenants. It is one-sided: God will fulfill without any conditions being met. We are about to read a Conditional Covenant: “If…Then”. The next covenant given to Moses (Mosaic Covenant) is conditional as well as ‘Ad Interim’. Ad Interim means temporary. It will span from Moses to Christ.
Does that mean that the Commandments that are about to be given are NOT to be followed by us? No, we are to follow them, they are just not a Covenant. Matthew 22 says:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When we read the 10 Commandments you will see that the 1st four commandments=Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and the 2nd six commandments=Love your neighbor as yourself.
Chapter 19: Three months have passed since they left Egypt. The Lord does not change His covenant but he does add an asterisk to it!
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
In short, the people experienced these blessings only partially, because their obedience was partial. Israel’s disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant DID NOT invalidate (is that a word) any of God’s promises to Abraham. Those promises did not rest on Israel’s obedience, as these did.
In just 3 months they are going from an Egyptian slave to a member of God’s Kingdom. They are about to be in the presence of the Lord. Time to physically and mentally prepare. They are to consecrate themselves so they are “different” than the people around them. (I know when you read 19:15 Abstain from sexual relations the men said “why??” and the woman said, “yes, I don’t have to shave my legs”. This was said because surrounding nations incorporated sexual practices with religious observances. Some of them are pretty gross….I can’t wait to get to Leviticus).
Did anyone notice how many times Moses climbed UP and DOWN this mountain! (I never noticed that before!)
Chapter 20. The 10 commandments. As stated above they can be put into 2 categories. Vertically to God. Horizontally to others.
Did you ever notice by the way that the first 2 commandments are written in 1st person and the rest are 3rd person? Keep in mind they have been living in Egypt (polytheistic) and they are going to travel in a year to Canaan, a very pagan nation. Keeping these commandments will set them apart from the people around them (something we need to think about? Do you blend?)
Commandment #1 and #2. Who to worship and How to worship.
- “You shall have no other gods before me. This commandment was a call to have only one God. Three months ago God proved that there are no other gods.
- “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. People are easily tempted to attribute power to idols that were fashioned by their own hands. I grew up in a home where a theology of “saints” and “statues” was prayed to. Our faith is in God, and God alone. (This is about Idolatry, not art)
- “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Minimizing God’s name is not acceptable. His name is Holy because He is Holy. Misprespresing His name is misusing His name. Example: God wants you to be happy…”. Ummm, no. He wants you to be Holy.
- “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. The word Sabbath is used 90 times in the Old Testament, and 55 times in the New Testament. It means to “cease”. Are you busier than God? Do you take time to rest in Him? (When we get to the NT you will see keeping the Sabbath has so many rules, it is so much work to try to keep it!) 😢
- “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Oh, a “so that” is added to this one. The Hebrew word for honor is “give weight to”. As God has instructed parents to teach their children THEN they give weight to their instruction (So if you read this and thought I am going to tell my children this, please remember your teaching them God’s precepts is the first part). Ouch! This is the only commandment that is directly linked to a promise. Is this an OT commandment or an NT commandment?? It is mentioned 2 times in the OT 6 times in the NT. So you tell me!
- “You shall not murder. What is the value of a life?? What is it’s worth? The value of something depends on what someone is willing to pay for it, right? So what is the value of a life? Jesus paid the highest price possible…with His own life.
- “You shall not commit adultery. Marriage is a covenant. A symbol of God’s covenant with us. This commandment puts a protective wall on marriage.
- “You shall not steal. (does this apply to taking a 20 out of my husband’s wallet?)
- “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Lying, defamation, and distortion of the truth. Listen, no one is more hyperbolic when telling a story than me, but we need to watch the line of Gossip. God commanded it.
- “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 5-9 were “seeable” (is that a word) actions. # 10 is an emotion,
What follows immediately after this? If you have been around children or teens after stating the rules you restate the one you know they are going to break!!
“Do not make any gods to be along side me”
You know I don’t talk application. Each of us will hear from God in our daily read what He wants us to hear. Please stop and ask yourself what are the things in your life that you put before the Lord in your walk, your time, your money, and your thoughts.
Chapter 21- This is called the Book Of the Covenant.
This book now is the APPLICATION of the 10 commandments. Basically, we now take the 10 commandments and put them under a microscope. Let’s glace at one for some clarity so that when faced with an unbeliever, you can defend God:
- Hebrew Servants- go back to Genesis and the famine. When someone needed help to survive, people could be an indentured servant, meaning you help them get out of their debt by having them work for you, and then you set them free. A HEBREW servant will be set free on year 7 (it is complete). NOW if they love their master and decide to stay they willingly make a sign on their body they have CHOSEN to be a BOND SERVANT.
- Now think of all the times Paul in the NT starts his letters with: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—” ❤️
- The rest of the chapter is “Thou shalt not Murder” under a microscope: So here we are reading “Though Shalt not Murder” and then in it says “…is to be put to death”. Murder is not the same as Judicial Execution (the death penalty). Murder is personal. Murder is taken into our own hands. Justice must be done with a fair trial. (was Jesus given a fair trial?)
- Can we sit here all day and pick these apart?? An Eye for an Eye, a tooth for a tooth. Now you know where in the Bible we get that! Remember, the Laws are written so that everyone could understand them. This lingo…if you do this, then this will happen…. is very familiar to the people already. They have already been exposed to a “law system” called the Hammurabi Code. The Hammurabi Code was the law of the land: 282 Laws inscribed on the side of a stone called a “Stele”
Extra reading: Here is a list of 10 scriptures from the words of Jesus. You should look them up. Click on them….they will sound familiar after re-reading the 10 commandments. So, do they still apply to us??
Click on the stuff in blue: