September 8, 2019 at 11:04 pm · naltadonna · Comments Off on Set in Stone: Week 1
When you think of the Ten Commandments, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of one of the Ten Commandments movies, like the one starring Charles Heston. Perhaps you think of a general list of “Thou shall nots.” Or perhaps you think of the controversies of displaying the Ten Commandments in government buildings and public schools. When we think about the Ten Commandments, many of us aren’t particularly enthused or passionate about them. This Sunday we began a new sermon series on the Ten Commandments called Set in Stone, where we hope to shed some new perspective on these commands to see them not as burdensome, rigid rules but more as guidelines to experience freedom and point us to the way life is supposed to be. We hope to write the commandments on our heart as our moral compass.
This Sunday we talked about a part of the Ten Commandments that is perhaps the most important part, yet a section we rarely read. Exodus 20:1-2 is known in most Christian denominations as the preamble to the Ten Commandments. The verses state, “Then God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” While it is known as the preamble in most Christian denominations, it is the first commandment for our Jewish brothers and sisters. This announcement helped the Jews and us remember who God is and how God acts on our behalf.
The Ten Commandments were not given in a vacuum as a general list of rules, they must be read in the context of Genesis and Exodus. At the beginning of Exodus, the Israelites were living as slaves in Egypt. They cried out to God for rescue, and God empowered Moses to lead them out of captivity and into freedom. At the outset of the Ten Commandments, God wanted to remind the Israelites of the depths of God’s mercy and grace. They weren’t some “just because” laws, they were principles to bring stability and moral purpose to the Israelites. The law helped give them a unique national identity and were an extension of God’s liberation. They were commands given by a God who loved Israel and wanted them to be a light for the world. They were a guide to show them how life was intended to be.
The same God who rescued the Israelites from captivity rescues us from captivity. Some of us are rescued from being a slave to fear, works righteousness, addiction, or toxic relationships. It’s from a place of rescue and deliverance that God gives us the Ten Commandments. These commandments are meant to be principles to live by, as a grateful response to the God who brought us out of slavery. We receive these commands in a context of grace, where grace always comes before the law. How do we respond to God’s grace? We serve God by writing the commandments on our heart and living them out each day.
- Monday- Exodus 20:1-2
- Tuesday- Exodus 3:1-22
- Wednesday- Exodus 7:1-13
- Thursday- Exodus 13:17-14:31
- Friday- Exodus 15:1-19
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
- From what bondage has God rescued you?
- Does Exodus 20:1-2 change your perspective on the Ten Commandments as a whole? Why or why not?