Against The Law - The One Year Through the Bible Devotional

Against The Law

2“I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. 3You must not have any other god but me. 4You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind. . . . 7You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. . . . 8Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . . 12Honor your father and mother. . . . 13You must not murder. 14You must not commit adultery. 15You must not steal. 16You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. 17You must not covet your neighbor’s house . . . or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”

Exodus 20:2-4, 7-8, 12-17

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What sorts of rules do you have in your house? They don’t have to be written down—many firm rules never make it to paper or poster board, though sometimes they feel more official that way. Parents usually start with “Mom and Dad are in charge,” and go on from there. Whenever two or more people gather together, there can be chaos; rules help us get organized.

This is the story of when God’s people are given God’s laws, including the Ten Commandments. The laws cover worship, servants, personal injuries, property, social responsibility, justice, the Sabbath, and three annual festivals. Israel encamps at Mt. Sinai for a year, giving them time to soak in God’s commands.

These chapters also highlight the importance of keeping commitments; preparing for worship; honoring God above all else; being fair to others; making restitution; and being kind to the poor. Is there any area of your life that the list doesn’t touch?

Read Exodus 19:1–24:18

Why did God give the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)? Israel was God’s people, and the commandments gave them a blueprint for a life of practical holiness, life as a people belonging to God. In these laws, the people could see God’s nature and his plan for how they should live. The commands and guidelines were intended to direct the community to meet the needs of each individual in a loving and responsible manner. If we love God, we will love his will. We show our love by responding obediently to what God wants. The Ten Commandments tell us what God wants.

Take a fresh look at these familiar commandments; look at them from the positive side. For example, the commandment against adultery really means that you should honor the sanctity of marriage. And the commandment against murder means that you should respect all human beings as valuable creations of our loving God. Which commandments cause you the most difficulty? Does anything compete for God’s place in your life? Do you show honor and respect to others?

From the Book: