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Summary: The 10 commandments and their relevance to today.

Laws for Living

Exodus 20:1-17

March 19, 2006

One of the worksheets the Pastor gave Deb and I to do as we sat in his office for pre-marital counseling was to make a list of expectations that we had for each other and our upcoming life long marriage.

We were to fill out a sheet of paper listing the expectations I had for Deb and our relationship and she was to do the same. We were not allowed to show each other until our next time with the Pastor. At our next meeting the Pastor said exchange your papers and after each expectation write down, cinch, sweat or no way. In other words will it be a cinch/easy to live into that expectation, hard work/sweat, or is there no possible chance to do it.

I’d like to read a few of mine and with my wife’s permission some of hers.

What was the top one for me?

Do the majority of the cooking - cinch.

Pray together on a regular basis.

Live simply

Share in yard work.

Spend according to goals we have established.

Celebrate often.

Take a vacation.

Deb’s - you can tell where she was at.

Spend dad time with kids - take them out to eat/play.

Spend time with families.

Be the #1 evening driver.

Approach hospitality as a team.

Seek to be attractive - shower, clean teeth, floss.

It was a great exercise for us to do. We learned quickly and quite surprisingly that she and I had expectations of each other. The Pastor told us that our relationship would be healthy to the degree those expectations are communicated, and honored or negotiated, so when we named them, listed them, communicated them, I learned what would bless her, honor her make her happy and she learned the same. And we also learned what wasn’t acceptable. What wouldn’t fly?

If you find yourself in a healthy relationship as a husband and wife,

As a parent with your child.

As a coach with your athletes.

As a neighbor

As a boss with your workers,

you probably can trace the root of that health to knowing and living into the expectations of the other. Whether written down or unspoken.

If you know someone’s expectations, understand why that expectation is important and if that expectation contributes to your relationship, whether it is easy to do or hard to do you will pursue it for the sake of your relationship.

Now our text for today is Exodus 20, (p. 118). This text is a familiar one to almost all of us. This text is talked about in church, in schools, and in courtrooms. This text is called the 10 Commandments. Not the 10 suggestions. Not the 10 pointers. Not the 10 good ideas, but the 10 Commandments. These were the 10 expectations that God gave to his people.

What I’d like to do is to read through them and make 3 observations as to their relevance/importance for us today.


When God spoke these words, he did so not out of the blue. God didn’t come to Moses and his 3 million followers in a police car and suddenly introduce himself and say "This is how it was going to be now that you are set free from being slaves for the past 400 years." God didn’t do that. These commandments are set in the context, into the story of what God had been doing for many, many years.

While most of us think God begins with "Commandment #1, "You shall have no other God’s before me" - He doesn’t. Instead this is where He begins, v.2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

God begins by identifying himself and his relationship with the people. I am the Lord. I am your God. I have a history, a track record with you. We have a relationship.

God also identifies his work, his involvement in their past.

"I brought you out of Egypt. Out of slavery." This God has been around. He knows their story, their faults, their feelings of their faith. And through all these, he has worked on their behalf, bringing them to the place of freedom.

God wasn’t like a substitute teacher, showing up out of no where, writing his name on the chalkboard - I am Yahweh - now these are the rules. Rules for today, until your real teacher comes back. That wasn’t the case at all.

Because it wasn’t because Moses and his people had experienced God’s mighty hand, had come to a place of having relationship with him, in their hearts and with their mouths they weren’t disagreeable to these. They didn’t go into negotiations. They were willing to live unto these expectations/these commandments of their God. 3 times the people said, "We will do everything the Lord has said." Exodus 19:8, and 23: 3, 7.

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