I’m going to talk about the 10 commandments for a bit. These can be found in Exodus 20. I’m going to use the ESV.
Disclaimer: Please note that these are my opinions. Reading them may produce an unwanted spiritual burden for you; there may be some liberation in them for you as well. The law was not meant for redemption, and none of us are perfect. Through Christ, we have been redeemed and are no longer under the consequences of the law (or under the law as Paul put it) but under the liberty of God’s forgiveness and purpose (or under grace Romans 6:14). If you have the remotest fear that what I am about to say could become a burden to you, please do not read the rest of this.
“1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 You shall have no other gods before me.’ “
God starts off telling the Jews who He is. ‘Remember me, I brought you out of Egypt. I am your God and you will put me first.’ That is command one.
“4 ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 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 the fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’ “
Now the way I read this is that verse 4 is the second commandment. Do no make a physical object that represents or symbolizes something spiritual. This in it’s essence leads back to the first commandment; a physical symbol takes our gaze away from an invisible God. The physical things of this world will be gone forever, but God is eternal and everlasting. Do not pour in worship over the things of this world. In my opinion, Christians fall a little short in this area. Cross jewelry, Jesus fish, pictures/paintings, rosary necklaces, and saint pendants— these are all graven images. I think it is in bad spiritual taste to have these. Verse 5 and 6 seem to modify both of the first two commandments. God is first, and we are not to worship those inanimate objects.
“7 ‘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.’ “
I believe this verse is commonly misunderstood. Without taking time to consider this verse, it might appear that God is saying not to say his name in a swearing sort of situation. While I don’t believe saying “Oh God” is a good idea, I don’t believe that’s what He’s saying here. The word is “take.” That word is the same in the KJV. The word is not “use.” The word “take” implies apprehending it against the will of the one who holds it. It seems to me taking God’s name in vain refers to saying that you’re doing something for God when God really has no part in it. The hate church, Jim Jones, that guy that wanted to burn the Qur’an, manifest destiny, the Crusades, and the inquisition are prime examples of this (the reason those are all linked to wikipedia articles is because they are further linked to other sites for more in depth research). Though I am a human just the same as those that performed the actions above, I don’t personally believe that God was behind any of that, and yet his name was attached to all of those acts. In comparison, saying “Oh my God” looks a little weak, don’t you think?
“8 ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.’ “
Pretty self explanatory. 1 day a week, we should not do any work. Pick a day. It’s not saying don’t go anywhere, it’s saying clearly, do no work (job, homework, side work, home projects, work out). I think this is another one of those commands that does not get followed the way it should. We as Americans wonder why we’re tired all the time. Our fast paced lives lead us to becoming addicted to accomplishment; however, we need to remember that God created the entire world in 6 days and still took a rest on the 7th. The world will keep spinning one day without our work.
“12 ‘Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.’ “
There is a lot here in a few short words. Not only is this the 5th commandment, but this also includes a promise. Dictionary.com defines honor(remember it’s used as a transitive verb here) with many particulars, but the overall concept is to show a courteous regard for and to hold in high respect. This can be hard sometimes especially when having non-biological parents, apathetic parents, or largely absent parents; however, I believe that is why God gave us a promise. Parents can see how important their role is in this commandment as well.
“13 ‘You shall not murder.’ “
Dictionary.com defines murder as killing another human as specified by law. God later talks about murder and cities of refuge in Numbers 35 clarifying the types of murder, but war is not included in the realm of murder.
“14 ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ “
Dictionary.com defines adultery as a married person having sex with someone who is not their spouse (both individuals are committing adultery in that scenario). This commandment does not include those who are not married having sex with each other. The barrier (if you will) is marriage.
“15 ‘You shall not steal.’ “
Yeah… taking something that belongs to someone else. A good practice is to not take something if it doesn’t belong to you.
“16 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’ “
This is a good one! Often people think this commandment says do no lie and then question how Rahab made it into the Hebrews 11 hall of faith list (verse 31). God says not to tell someone a lie falsely incriminating someone else. A key word in this passage is “against.” This of course implies that there is negative consequences for the person being lied about. Hopefully this puts a rest to that age old conundrum about lying to a lady about her cooking. Honesty is almost always the best policy; however, lying as a whole is not condemned by this commandment.
“17 ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’ “
Dictionary.com defines covet as a wrongful desire for something without regard to the person who owns it. This 10th and final commandment could easily go hand in hand with 8 and 9. The premise of this verse seems to be simple, work honestly for what you get. Is it wrong to think, “Man, Jim’s got a nice tv,” or “I love Sara’s shoes.” The answer is no; those are perfectly acceptable thoughts. However, when it moves towards, “I want to take Jim’s tv,” or “Sara’s shoes,” the line has been crossed. This is the only command that deals with intentions or thought life, which is interesting to note.
Well, I’m through talking about the 10 commandments for now. Thanks for sticking around. I hope you found this helpful/informational/revealing/enlightening/etc.