The Ten Commandments

Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use “killer soaps”—condemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper. We think we’re doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear. More


Moses calls Israel together and exhorts them with four key words (vv. 1-2. The words are hear, learn, keep, and do. It is a restating of the Law but the emphasis is still on love and obedience. What the Lord demanded of Israel is still required of His people today (v. 3). The only difference is that today we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Law is actually like a headlight on a car which shows the way into the darkness.

As we read this portion of Scripture it is important for us to realize that the ten commandments were given to a people who were already redeemed (brought out of Egypt) (vv. 4-6). They were given for the purpose of helping God’s people to express their love for and have fellowship with Him. The law was never designed to give people salvation. Furthermore, God wants a genuine relationship with us and not a mere ritual. The Lord wants us to obey Him, not as slaves, but as grateful children.

The first four commandments had to do with Israel’s relationship to God personally: acknowledging that there is but one Lord (vv. 6-7), abstaining from worshiping idols (vv. 8-10, honoring God’s name (v. 11), and observing the Sabbath (vv. 12-15). We are commanded to love our Lord and also our neighbors (v. 16), we need to honor human life and not commit murder ( v. 17), the next commandment calls for sexual purity and the honoring of marriage (v. 18). We are not to steal (v. 19), or tell lies (v. 20), or covet what another person has.


There is a difference between doing something because it is required and doing it because I want to (v. 29). God wants my head and my heart but He also wants my feet.

Deuteronomy 5:1-21 (English Standard Version)

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said: "'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "'You shall have no other gods before me. "'You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. "'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. "'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 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, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. "'Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. "'You shall not murder. "'And you shall not commit adultery. "'And you shall not steal. "'And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. "'And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."'

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