THE JUNCTION | 28.6
MOSES & THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.
This week we are continuing our series on Faith Over Fear by looking at another key moment in the life of Moses. So far we have looked at the burning bush and the pillar of fire and cloud of dust. Today we think about one of the most memorable moments in the Old Testament – God giving the Israelites the law and the ten commandments.
One of the most common ways these laws are viewed is that they are “God’s rulebook” for us to follow.
How do you feel about rules? Probably not great right?…
A more accurate way of reading the commandments is as a kind of marriage vow between God’s people and God.
When you look at it like that, does that change how you think about the commandments?
I’ve not met many people that are frustrated by the marriage vows they have taken.
They are made from a relationship… they set out how you behave as a married couple.
It’s the same with this relationship of promise (covenant) between God and His people… God sets out how he wanted His people to behave in the world. How they would be different to those around them. The laws were about protecting the vulnerable, keeping a rhythm of life (sabbath,) protecting the relationships of people (don’t kill them,) and the provision of grace through sacrifices. It was big stuff.
The Ten Commandments
(Exodus 20:1-21 NIV)
And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “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. 5 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, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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. 11 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.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “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.”
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Did you notice that, at the end, the people were too afraid to go with Moses to be closer to God?
Fear can lead us away from getting close to God… If you know the rest of the story, when Moses eventually comes back down from the mountain the people had decided to create an idol out of gold. They made a calf and worshiped it as the god that olead them out of slavery. All because they were afraid that Moses wasn’t going tocome back.
One way of reading this is to see that the Israelites, in their fear, wanted to be like all the other tribes around them. To do what they were doing. There is comfort to be found in conforming to the ways of the world. I know we don’t make little statues and bow down to them… but we are definitley guilty of sacrificing to idols in our lives. Worship can be defined as: to have or show a strong feeling of respect and admiration for God or a god. If we aren’t carful we can treat things like success, fame, money…. as gods (notice the lowercase ‘g’.) We then sacrifice our time, energy, resources… and so on to this god. Ultimately, worshiping anything other that God isn’t going to be life filling or lead to happiness.
- Has it been hard to keep good habbits in lockdown?
- Have you changed your routines over the past 14 weeks?
- Does worry or fear cause you do do some habbits?
The greatest thing to remember is that the God who made these vows with His people is the same yesterday, today and forever. He always made a way for His people to be forgiven; it’s part of the promise. Built into the relationship was the ability to return. In the New Testament we can read about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and how he came to complete the laws of Moses that we may recieve forgiveness in his name – God always makes a way for his people to be drawn back into relationship with him.
Dear God, thank you that you are a God who makes and keeps promises to us. Help us to put you first in all things and we’re sorry for when we havn’t put you first in our lives. Help us to make good habbits even when things are difficult or strange around us. Help us to be holy in this world with pandemics and protests, that people will see you thogh Christians right now. Amen.
Maybe you could reflect more on the things we put before God…
Or how we can be different to those around us right now…
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