Wandering: book of Exodus / Exodus 19–20
The Ten Commandments show us life is found in a decentered center, where God is in the middle and not us.
• In this scenario we see that the Israelites are approaching mt Sinai and they, through Moses, encounter God. Up until this point they have seen what God has done, they have watched how He has protected and provided and freed them. But now they are going to interact with God differently. They are going to hear what it looks like for them to live in relationship with God.
• And we see Him tell them what that relationship looks like through these commandments
• God’s rules are not limiting. They are the tools that we use to create a space worth living with each other.
Exodus 19:4–6 ESV
‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
• The problem with extracting the 10 commandments out of the text is that we just then look at a list of rules. But there are things that we should understand about the commandments that show us that they are much more than rules.
• God is saying He is inviting us into relationship and that He wants us to know what it means to know God in such a way that we represent Him.
Exodus 20:1–11 ESV
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“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. You 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, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“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.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but 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. For 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.
• God is not making demands. God is not trying to figure out how He can manipulate us.
• God is showing us where life is. God is showing us what life in God looks like.
• That He is first, He is central.
• And we see in the command of the Sabbath. Three commands are do nots and the command of the sabbath is “do.” Keep this. And Sabbath keeping is not just not working it is recognizing that God is central to who we are. That He is provider and finisher of our lives. To stop working in sabbath is to recognize that God is continually working.
Exodus 20:12–17 ESV
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“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.”
• To really love another in the way that God shows us is to be decentered from our center. Meaning that we will always drift toward being in the center. And life in Christ calls us to live outside of that center. But it is by stepping outside of being in the center that we can learn what it means to love another.
• It’s not just about killing others, adultery or stealing and lying, it is about the destruction of the relationship.
• There is a key in how to do that. In verse 12 God doesn’t just tell us what not to do, He tells us how to do it.
• Honor is a key in relationships.
Romans 12:10 ESV
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
• When we look at these commandments, we are looking at a life where God is at the center and where others are honored.
• It decenters us in the best way possible.
When we are in the middle of everything we become dizzy. We are not intended to live there. We need to increase our angular momentum and remove ourselves from the center. We have become too dizzy.