Summary: The Lord gives his people instructions for their lives together. They are given in love with the desire that the people of God live abundant, free, and fruitful lives.
Exodus 20:12-16 “Play Nicely with Others”
Twenty five years ago author Robert Fulghum wrote a book entitled, All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. It was immediately a smashing success. The book contained observations and rules such as: Share everything, play fair, don't hit people, put things back where you found them and when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together. When practiced these are good rules that help us live together.
Today we are going to focus on the second tablet of the Ten Commandment. These are the commandments that deal with our relationships with our neighbors. These commandments put hands and feet on to the word, “Love.”
BACK TO THE BASICS
Whenever we talk about the Ten Commandments, it is a good idea to remind ourselves of some basic truths.
1. The relationship between God and his people had already been established before God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. God had already chosen the Israelites to be his people. God had moved powerfully in order to break the changes of slavery and lead the Israelites out of bondage and into the freedom of the Promised Land. This is good news! Our relationship with God has already been established through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and this relationship is not affected by our performance.
2. God gave us the Ten Commandments out of love. God wants us to experience abundant and free lives. God wants us to experience heaven on earth. The Ten Commandments enable us to do this. The commandments are given in love, for love.
3. Law, or boundaries, are good. They are needed so that we can be truly free. This is true even if it appears at first to be an oxymoron. Both children and parents can experience more freedom if the children play in a fenced in back yard than if they were allowed to go anywhere. Imagine what life would be like without laws. Life would not be safe, freedom would be an illusion, and anarchy would reign.
TEN IS ENOUGH
It appears to be a human tendency to make laws upon laws. We follow that idea that more laws will help us do fewer bad things and more good things. Often that isn’t what happens.
The Bible contains many stories where more laws thwarted the expression of God’s love and grace. The forth commandment instructs children to honor their fathers and mothers. By the time of Jesus, though, laws had been made to get around that law. Evidently, there were some children who did not want to care for their aging parents. The adult children were able to designate the portion of their belongings that they would have used to care for their parents as “Corban,” a gift to God. Doing so allowed them to avoid the responsibility of caring for their parents (Mark 7:11).
Several times Jesus ran against the established religious laws because he healed people on the Sabbath. Jesus demonstrated that the love and care of others is more important that keeping the letter of the law.