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)

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