The Significance of The “Ten Words”

The Significance of The “Ten Words”

Preacher Huijun - 15 January 2023

The Significance of The "Ten Words"

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Exodus overview

  • Ex 1-18 : God redeemed His oppressed people
  • Ex 19-24 : God made a covenant (the “Ten Words”) with His people
  • Ex 25-40 : Tabernacle – God dwells with His people

 

<Ex 20> 1 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.

 

Preamble to the “Ten Words”

  • Spoken directly by God, not from men >>> must be taken seriously
  • Through the “Ten Words”, God reveals Himself and His character
  • The “Ten Words”: Foundation to understand other laws
  • The “Ten Words”: Fundamental principles for living in relationship with God
  • God highlighted His relationship with the people: Not just God, but their God
  • “I am your God”: His lordship over them. Because He redeemed them, He had the right to demand their obedience, and they should obey Him out of gratitude
  • The “Ten Words”: Covenant between God and Israel.
    • <Ex 34:28>: Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

 

<Ex 20>

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.”

 

The “Ten Words”

1) Very personal

2) Many negative commands, but very positive basis and aim

  • More prohibitions than positive instructions
  • But behind the “you shall nots”, there are positive ideals of holiness, righteousness and love
  • Jesus summed up the Law in very positive terms of love:
  • <Mt 22> 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.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
  • While love is something positive, it also has negative implications
    • Because love is exclusive

3) First four commandments: Relationship with God; next six commandments: Relationship with men

  • Two parts are inter-related
  • Essence of the Law: Love God and men
  • Survey in 2009 among 1000 Britons: 62-70% felt the first four commandments not relevant today.
  • If a person does not fear God and know Him properly, he won’t know how to treat others with the right love and holiness.

 

Quick overview of the “Ten Words”.

Commandment 1: “You shall have no other gods before me.” <Ex 20:3>

 

Commandment 2: “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…” <Ex 20:4-5>

 

Commandment 3: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” <Ex 20:7>

 

Commandment 4: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” <Ex 20:8>

 

Commandment 5: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” <Ex 20:12>

 

Commandment 6: “You shall not murder.” <Ex 20:13>

 

Commandment 7: “You shall not commit adultery.” <Ex 20:14>

 

Commandment 8: “You shall not steal.” <Ex 20:15>

 

Commandment 9: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” <Ex 20:16>

 

Commandment 10: “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.” <Ex 20:17>

 

 Reflection

  1. Do you find the Ten Commandments still relevant today? Why?
  2. Which is harder for you – to love God or to love men?
  3. How can you display covenantal loyalty to God today, by living out His words of covenant (the “Ten Words”)?
Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun
huijun@lifechurchmissions.com

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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