As we start this day of celebration we need to remember something about the beginning. We need to realize back even when the 10 commandments were given it wasn’t to keep us from having fun but more to keep us safe and blessed. As I just typed that it made me think of the last piece of the 5 finger contract as the first thing is the pinky which is the most broken bone in the body and represents safety and the fifth thing is the thumbs up which means fun and together represent more than hang loose but safe fun. God set guard rails to keep us safe so we can be having fun and be blessed. When we go outside of them we put ourselves at risk of getting hurt on so many levels. It was founded on the basis of freedom! Real freedom isn’t free and many people fought to make this a reality. Through this process just as the Israelites received the 10 commandments, we find that the US had the constitution and the bill of rights. I noticed something similar in how the writing of the constitution and the receiving of the 10 commandments have in common. As we read from today’s reading in Exodus 20, we hear the people saying
‘Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. ‘ — Exodus 20:18-21
and we see that the opening or preamble to the constitution says
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. — The Constitution of the United States
The people had to make a decision. The people had to choose to move forward with it. We are all faced with choices on a daily basis and there is no greater choice that we have to make than to choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Nobody can force us to receive the protection and the blessing and the power and the promises. We need to receive it by free will and free choice. As I think of this and consider the Declaration of Independence, we see it connected again when we read
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,— That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. — The Declaration of Independence
So as we consider today and we ponder what it really means both to us individually and to us as a people, let’s remember that it was put together with good intentions, it was put together with purpose and on purpose, directed by God’s plan which is good.
Let’s jump into our reading for today…
The Ten Commandments
1And 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.
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. 5You 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, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
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.
8″Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but 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. 11For 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.
12″Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13″You shall not murder.
14″You shall not commit adultery.
15″You shall not steal.
16″You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
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.”
18Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Laws About Altars
22And the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. 23You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. 24An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 25If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. 26And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’
Are you willing to choose to align and allow the commandments to help you live a better life? Are you willing to go one step higher as the 10 commandments give us what should be average, whereas we learn through Jesus that He calls us to an even higher level. As an example, let’s compare Matthew 5 with what we have read in Exodus 20.
21″You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But 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. –from Matthew 5
13″You shall not murder. –from Exodus 20
Another example on the subject of adultery
27″You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. — from Matthew 5
14″You shall not commit adultery. –from Exodus 20
Jesus has a higher calling up on us. Jesus came to break us free by paying the ultimate price. So will you choose to be someone who is trying to raise the average? Will you choose to be someone who rather than lowering things to the lowest common denominator raises the bar in order to prevent the average from slipping away? Will you choose safe fun? Will you choose to commit, to be respectful, and to take responsibility? Will today be the beginning of a new you and a new world around you?
For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.
Today’s devotional comes to use from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the Bible’s impact on Scientific Discovery. It is titled The ten commandments and science. We learn today about Wernher von Braun who was a rocket scientist who played a leading role in NASA’s space program. The 10 commandments played an influential role in science as we read in the quote provided…
“While technology controls the forces of nature around us, ethics try to control the forces of nature within us. I think it is a fair assumption that the Ten Commandments are entirely adequate–without amendments–to cope with all the problems the technological revolution not only has brought up, but will bring up in the future. The real problem is not a lack of ethical legislation, but a lack in day-to-day guidance and control. When science freed itself from the bonds of religious dogma, thus opening the way for technological revolution, the Church also lost much of its influence on the ethical conduct of man.”
— from Wernher von Braun: The Christian Rocket Scientist
So will we allow the Holy Spirit to move into our hearts? Will we allow the Holy Spirit to continue to point us to Jesus and to lead us and guide us through life? Will we allow Jesus to be our way to true living? Will we allow that still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit to be the comforter Jesus promised before he rose back into heaven? Will we choose to be different and make a difference? This is your today and you get to choose!
I thank You for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You know me better than myself and that You are able to give me wisdom and discernment for each situation including turning to others as You teach there is wisdom in the council of many. Protect us Lord today as we prepare for this day. Protect us as we go out to celebrate. Keep your hand upon and over my family and friends I pray. Bless each reader and allow Your Word to speak truth and hope and life into their lives so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.