The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments help us embody our new creation and our new names found in Christ. At church as well as our school, work places, and families we are given new life. But in order to fully experience this we need structure and guidance.  Because if it was totally up to us we will get something wrong or do something we shouldn’t — basically we will sin.

Because in each of our lives there is some misplaced desire, some grief, some reckless act that takes over where our new selves ought to be, and we find ourselves lost afraid maybe even confused as to how we got there and where to go next.

I know because I have felt this before — I have felt this at times when I was in high school or college, I felt this in seminary and as a pastor. When I have this vision of what should be happening around me.  In my life and in the communities that that I am a part.

Have you ever felt like that before?  When nothing happens the way you envisioned them. You become  frustrated or angry because you care, you have passion and you want to do things, to have things a certain way.

This happens to all of us so we wander through life; we lose ourselves, our destination, we may lose God; we forget what we know, and we cling to our grief over what we’ve lost.

This is not a new thing, we see this happening with the Israelites.  When we get to chapter 20 in Exodus Israel has been liberated from slavery in Egypt and has set out into the wilderness. The people have encountered thirst and hunger, there was some mumbling and grumbling along the way but God has provided bread from heaven.

You see, God loves His people, and God wanted to help them, So God makes a covenant with Israel: Israel will be God’s treasured possession, a holy nation.

This covenant is unlike the one that God made with Noah and Abraham.  You see, God says that God loves the israelites, God says that He will make them His people, but there are guidelines that they need to follow.  This mutual covenant with the people of Israel.

This is where the Ten Commandments come in.

But the commandments are not new — God is not creating a new set of rules for people to follow.  They are not rules at all — They are guidelines as to how to nurture our relationship with God and with one another.  God wants us to be happy, to live in relationship with one another and with God. Click To Tweet

So we look at the commandments and the way that God frames them and we can see how God connects both the recreation covenant with Noah and the Naming covenant with Abraham.

Because the God who appeared to Noah, Abraham and Sarah is the same God who appears to Moses now.

That’s not the purpose of the commandments, that is not the purpose of the Law.

The purpose of the commandments are not to make us feel bad.  They are to help us in our relationships.

Think about it….

The first three commandments inform us as to how we are to be in relationship with God. Thou shall have no other gods, thou shall not take the name of the Lord God, in vain, and  thou shall keep the sabbath.

We should have no other gods, we should not swear and we should spend time each week in prayer and thanksgiving to God for all the blessings that God gives us.

The fourth through eighth are to help with relationships between people (no stealing, no lying, be faithful, don’t kill anyone).

So we are given these rules, these commands by God.  God wants us to fulfill them and be faithful to them.  But the reality is that we are not going to be faithful, we are going to mess up and we are not going to follow them.

Even if we go our entire lives and we don’t kill someone — there are going to be times when we do not take a sabbath, there are going to be times when we put other things before God, there are even going to be times when we covet something that someone else has!!!

And God knows that, and you know what?!?!! God is going to love us anyway!

Even though we try and make some commandments more important than others, they are all the same in God’s eyes and God is going to love us all the same.

God has established a covenant with God’s people.  As we continue in the story God’s people do not abide by the covenant just like we won’t.  God tries over and over again to bring His people together.

So eventually God knows there is nothing He can do from above, so God comes to be one of us in Jesus Christ.  It is in the life, death and resurrection that the eternal covenant is established.

It is in Christ that we are named and claimed as God’s own.  It is in Christ that we are given a new life, a new identity and a new calling.  To be the people of God called and sent to proclaim the promises of God.

The promise to continue to be with us, the promise of a new life, a new name, and to live in a new creation guiding us in our relationship with God and one another.  Amen.

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