Summary: This message is a discussion of Commandments 6,7,and 9 of the Ten Commandments and how they are relevant to our relationship with each other. God places a lot of value on the human race. We tend to under value each other.
NOTE: This message is part of a series on the Ten Commandments and there is an Introduction posted on this website that sets the tone for the focus of the text. Okay, so let's jump into the passage for today:
Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder.
We will spend a little time talking about this commandment but I will not go into great depth of it because the goal of the message is not to explain all of the intricacies of the verse but to show how it fits into the framework of relationship to others and God that we have been looking at throughout this study of the Ten Commandments. That being said, let's look at a brief explanation:
If you look at a King James Version (KJV) Bible this verse uses the word kill instead of murder. The reason for this is that when they wrote it, there was no one around that would think that the Bible was saying not to kill in defense of self or others, or to kill as a military action, or stretch it to try and mean don't kill animals. These are some of the arguments today but they have no basis. The Hebrew word which is used in this passage means to murder. To take a life of another human intentionally and illegally. The commandment says do not murder. We all know that murder is wrong, but what does this have to do with the relational framework we have been discussing and what does it have to do with freedom? Before we answer that, let's look at something Jesus said in the book of Matthew:
Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.
Jesus extended the application of the commandment to include being angry and insulting. Why would those be included in this?
Now let's look at the relationship angle again. God was teaching His people to be His. To relate to Him and to show others who He is by their actions and attitudes. In that light, if we murder someone, we are saying that their life has no meaning or value. We undervalue the very people who God has created in His image and who God wants us to be witnesses to. God values His creation and would not have any to be lost. To that end we need to be seeing people as having value, not based on what they do but on who made them.
Following this thinking, it is not hard to see how the attitudes of anger, insulting, and even unforgiveness can get between us and our Heavenly Father and create a heart in us that causes us to undervalue those that Jesus died for. So, while this is a commandment and law, it is so much more as we learn to see things through the eyes of our creator instead of ourselves. To start to see others as having value and worth also gives us freedom to proclaim to them a Gospel of forgiveness and love. Free from prejudice and prideful arrogance. Free to love.
Moving on to the next commandment:
Exodus 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.
It is not news that adultery is wrong or that God calls it sin. But there is more to the story of our relationship than just another rule. Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew:
Mat 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
Mat 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
We may not think of adultery and murder as going together in the list of sins, but remember that Jesus affirms that the condition of our heart is as much a sin as what we do with our bodies. We have a similar problem here as with murder. I mentioned earlier that murder at its' heart is a devaluing of life, and here we see the devaluing of the marriage relationship as also being a breach of commandment.
Why would God feel so strongly about the married couple? How does He describe the relationship of Jesus to His church? By the example of the bride and groom. The closest thing that God could use to show us our relationship to Him is that of marriage. So, yes, He takes it very seriously. We should never take for granted that which God holds dear. Marriage of a man and a woman should be valued, defended, and honored as a gift from God.