Exodus 20 – The Ten Commandments
People were living according to their own wish and there were no laws and regulations to keep them in order (Deuteronomy 12:8). God called Abraham and promised him to bless his descendants and make them a blessing to the nations. God wanted them to be holy before Him. So He made a covenant with them through Moses, their leader who led them from Egypt where they were slaves for four hundred years. God gave them commandments and statutes to follow. If they do according to those commandments, God promised to bless them (Exodus 19:5,6).
1. (Verse 3) You shall have no other gods before Me. People were worshipping idols and God revealed Himself as Almighty God to Abraham and made a covenant with him (Genesis 17:1). Then his descendants went to Egypt and they were slaves in that country. Egyptians made their lives bitter with hard bondage by making them work with rigor. So they groaned and cried out to God. God heard their groaning and came down to deliver them.
God revealed Himself as ‘I AM WHO I AM’ to Moses and sent him to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt. He did various wonders among the Egyptians. God punished those who afflicted them and delivered them from Egypt. As God chose them to be His own people, He wanted them to worship Him alone (Isaiah 43:21). He wanted them to remember all the wonders He had done for them and their children.
God wanted His people to know that no other god is capable of doing all those wonders He had done for them and praise Him (Psalm 107:9). They should always remember that there is no other god that could have delivered them from the bondage as God did with His mighty hands and outstretched arms.
If we love a person or a material thing in this world more than God, we are keeping it before God and He hates it (Matthew 10:37). Nothing should occupy the place of God in our lives. Job, business, the family should not come before God in any situation of our lives. We need to remember all those wonders God had done in our lives and should not forget how He delivered from troubles and pains.
2. (Verse 4, 5a) You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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.
You shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
God hates creating idols and carved images in the likeness of anything and serving them because He is the only one who is worthy to be praised and honored. He won’t give His praise and honor to someone else as He is the Sovereign God and no one can be compared to Him.
I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. -Isaiah 42:8
When it is not possible to compare anything with Him, making idols and call them as God will be like dishonoring the Almighty God who created the heaven and the earth (Isaiah 46:5). Idols cannot do good or bad to anyone. They are simply like dolls which stand in the place where they were kept (Psalm 115:4-7).
Our God is the one who counts the number of stars and calls them all by name. We should not keep an image of a man and pray before that calling it Jesus. As some people claim that the image of Jesus was drawn from a cloth stained with blood which was used to wipe the face of Jesus, God won’t like praying before that image and worshipping it.
Because no one will like or answer someone who talks to the image of a person while the real person is sitting in front of that person. Idol Worship will bring a curse for the descendants too (Exodus 20:5,6).
3. (Verse 7) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Taking the name of God in vain doesn’t mean that whenever we use the name of God, we should say, ‘Let Him be glorified’ as people of some other religions do. But it means that the name of the Lord should not be dishonored because of our actions. We should make sure that the name of the Lord is glorified through us.
When we claim to be the people of God, our lives should display the love of God to others with whom we communicate. But if our lifestyle, our speech, our dressing, and how we treat others make others to blasphemy the name of God while we boast about ourselves to be the children of God, then we are taking the name of God in vain (2 Peter 2:2).
4. (Verse 8) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
God created the earth and all the creatures in it within six days and he rested on the seventh day. So He made that day holy and named it as Sabbath day. He gave all the six days to work and earn for their living. The seventh day will be holy and should be the day for holy convocation (Leviticus 23:3). According to law, if someone does any work on that day, he should be killed (Exodus 31:15).
We should be careful to consecrate that day for things next to the kingdom of God. If we consider Sabbath day as holy and keep ourselves away from doing things that won’t bring us closer to God, God will make us walk in the high places of the earth (Isaiah 58:13,14).
5. (Verse 12) Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
It is a blessing for children to obey and honor their parents. For their lives to be blessed by God, they need to honor their parents. Honoring father and mother will increase the number of days in their lifetime. When a child follows the instructions of parents, he honors his parents and he will be wise with those teachings (Proverbs 6:19-22).
Giving money to parents won’t complete the duty of a son or a daughter. But knowing their needs and being supportive in times of their inability as their parents loved and cared for them. It will be pleasing before God (1 Timothy 5:4).
Children should remember the sufferings and pains that their parents have borne, their sacrifices to brought them up to this level, and should be thankful to them. Children need to treat their parents as their own children and love them when they grow old and could not do their duties on their own.
Even though Jesus was the Son of God, He honored His worldly parents and obeyed them (Luke 2:51). He did not speak against them in any situation. When He was on the cross, He did the duty of a son for His mother. He ensured her security by making John, one of His disciples as her caretaker.
6. (Verse 13) You shall not murder.
Storing up grudges in the heart and thinking of it all the day pushes a man to murder his enemy who did evil to him. If we don’t have love and forgiving heart, we are murderers before God. Murderers cannot enter into the kingdom of God (Revelation 21:8; Galatians 5:21). They won’t have Eternal life and they will be condemned.
We don’t have to kill someone physically to be accused of murder. If we hate our neighbor, we will be murderers (1 John 3:15). If we get angry with someone without any cause, then we will be in danger of judgment. If we call someone fool, then we will be in danger of hellfire (Matthew 5:21,22).
If we have any disagreement with someone, we need to reconcile with them d forgive them before Satan uses it as a tool to destroy our lives. We should not try to do evil for evil, but forgive them as God did to us (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
7. (Verse 14) You shall not commit adultery.
God made physical relationship between a man and a woman legal only within a wedding relationship. Sexual immorality is a sin before God. Our body is the temple of God and it is the will of God for us to protect it holy without any sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6).
Jesus Christ was more stringent about this subject. For a man to be blamed for adultery doesn’t need any physical intimacy as in law. But He said that if a man just looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28). If we are not careful to protect the holiness of the body, God won’t stay in us because He cannot live where there is sin.
8. (Verse 15) You shall not steal.
Taking away the things of others is a sin before God. According to the law, if the thief is caught, then he should pay it back double (Exodus 22:4). He may have to pay back seven times the original theft value(Proverbs 6:31).
If it is not directly cheating someone and taking up of their things, but getting bribes and gifts for doing something in favor of someone in an unjust way will also be considered as stealing before God (Isaiah 1:23; 5:23). Whatever things or money that we earn or bring to our house that is not rightful for us will bring a curse.
When Jesus came to Zacchaeus’ house, he was convicted in conscience about this and repent back to God by agreeing to pay back fourfold of everything he earned illegally (Luke 19:8). He received salvation only after his repentance.
9. (Verse 16) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Being a false witness against innocent people and being a reason for wicked people escape from punishment is considered as a sin before God. God hates such a kind of person because the righteous person get punished without any reason (Proverbs 17:15). A false witness will be punished without fail as they made innocent people to suffer (Proverbs 19:9).
10. (Verse 17) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Some people compare their possessions with their neighbor’s possession and covet over those perishable goods. They tend to buy or take up the thing they coveted. It makes them fall in debts or if they took it from their neighbor, they become thieves.
We should understand that worldly treasures are temporary and we should not keep our mind upon them. We have to think of the heavenly treasures rather than the perishing wordly treasures (Colossians 3:2). We should fix our eyes on Godly treasures like spiritual fruits and gifts and should long for them.
We cannot take any material things with us to eternity when we die (1 Timothy 6:7). But if we bring a person to Christ, it will be added to our heavenly treasure. It will follow us in the eternity. We should be content with what we have and be thankful to God who gives us good strength, good food and good relationships each day without fail (1 Timothy6:6,8).