Summary: In our present society when many people often ignore the basic foundations of God's Word, it is good to revisit the giving of the Law to Moses and understand the main reasons why God put great emphasis in it.
THE PURPOSES OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Exodus 20:18-21 (NIV) "18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was."
We are now in chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus.
This is the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai as part of the Covenant relationship between God and the Israelites.
It starts with this strong words from God.
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."
It is as if God was saying, "Because I brought you out of Egypt, I have power and authority over all of you."
From now on, God will be their King and the people must submit to God's authority.
And then He gives them the Ten Commandments:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
That means putting God as number one priority over our lives.
We put Him first.
2. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the water below.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
That means we must not idolize anything because if there is anything that is first in our lives that is not God is an idol.
And God hates idolatry.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not uphold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
That means we must be careful when we speak impulsively to others about God.
Our words must be used to praise God not to curse.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your sons or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigners residing in your towns.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and he earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he restores the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
That means, we must take a day of rest and spend more time in worship to God.
5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
That means we must always respect and appreciate our parents.
6. You shall not murder.
That means that we value life to the fullest and we abhor any form of abortion.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
That means we must always protect our marriage from any sexual impurity.
8. You shall not steal.
That means we prosper financially by maintaining utmost integrity in all our business dealings.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
That means truth really matters in the way we relate to others.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his name or female servant, his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
That means we need to discover the secret of contentment in our lives to free us from the materialism of this world.
If you notice, the first four Commandments talks about our relationship with God, our commitment to Him, our respect for His name and our reverence for the Sabbath.
This is what God requires from our lives.
We love Him above all.
The last six commandments however are to build our relationship with one another.
We need to have proper conduct in the way we deal with other people.
This is an expression of our love and concern.
Jesus Himself made a summary of the Ten Commandments in Luke 10:27 (NIV)"He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind," and "Love your neighbor as yourself."