This chapter is all about change. If G-d is good and holy why does He allow evil? If there was no evil there would be no choice. Evil is simply the ability to choose what is not G-d’s choice. Without the ability to choose you take away love – love is a cognitive decision to be a G-dly influence in someone else’s life. The Ten Commandments teach us how to love G-d and how to love other people.
v1: The name used for G-d here is “Elohim”. This name relates to the judgement of G-d.
v2: The first thing G-d underscores is that He brought them from Egypt and out of bondage (redemption is related to the commands of G-d. It is after redemption that we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are able to keep the commands. We do not keep the commandments as a means to find redemption or salvation).
v3: When anything takes precedence over G-d we will not find His face ie: we will not receive His blessing.
v4: This verse (in light of v5) does NOT mean that we cannot have paintings of landscapes etc in our homes.
v5: We should never make a statue or an image for the purpose of worshipping it. This would be idolatry.
· Sin is genetic. Sinfulness impacts future generations. G-d doesn’t want us to choose sin. He warns and equips us not to sin. If we have the Holy Spirit living in us we have been freed from the bondage of sin and, therefore, don’t have to sin (Titus 2:12). When we sin we choose that which G-d hates. Sin demonstrates hatred toward G-d. Sin is serious business in G-d’s eyes. Is it serious in ours?
v6: Mercy: Grace.
· Mercy to thousands: What a powerful thing it is to walk in love! If we love G-d we will keep His commands (John 14:15) Obedience expresses love toward G-d. Sin expresses hatred toward Him.
v7: Do not be casual with the name of G-d ie do not vocalise it – except for its proper and rightful purpose.
· G-d’s not going to exonerate the one who misappropriates His name.
v8-11: G-d gives the most instruction concerning this 4th commandment. As New Covenant believers in Yeshua how does this command impact us? When we submit to covenantal truth there will be a blessing. When we rebel against it we experience negative consequences. Faith in Yeshua should not lead us to violate this command – the Sabbath has been given to us as a provision (Exodus 16).
· The stranger was not exempt from keeping the Sabbath.
· G-d did not need to rest, but He did – as an example to us. This showed His priority for mankind – for them to rest, and for them to be blessed. This is not a Salvation issue, but setting this day aside is a way to demonstrate, publicly, that G-d is our priority. We don’t
apply it to our lives as a sense of obligation, but because it is a privilege to be able to acknowledge G-d through the Sabbath day.
v12: Honour – show your parents that they are significant to you. One of the ways to do that is by obeying G-d. We are, to a large degree, a reflection of what our parents put into us. Obedience to G-d honours what they instilled in us. If they were unG-dly parents obedience to G-d causes us to demonstrate love toward them. Love displays honour. If we don’t know how to honour and respect our parents we will not know how to honour/respect G-d. If we don’t respect G-d we will not obey G-d.
· This verse says nothing about what age a person will reach if they honour their parents. It is wrong to conclude because someone dies young that they dishonoured their parents. This verse is not speaking about people individually but about people (dwelling long in the land and not living in exile) collectively.
v13: Murder is to kill without a justifiable cause (to kill in war etc would not be considered murder – Deuteronomy 20:16-17)
v16: False witness: Lie. Truth should be the foundation of everything that we do.
Note: All of these Ten Commandments either speak about our responsibility to demonstrate love for G-d or demonstrate love for men (Matthew 22:36-40)
v17: Covet: To have a strong (usually improper) desire for something. Coveting involves removing something or something from someone so that they experience lack. It is different to stealing in that the attitude displayed in coveting is having a desire to purposefully injure someone as you take what belongs to them (taking pleasure and delight in their loss).