Old Commandments for a New Situation
As new circumstances arise in society, our ability as Christians to rightly divide the word of truth and apply the biblical commandment with integrity and discernment is tested. Each generation needs to revisit God’s instructions to understand how they apply in new or evolving social and political situations. God’s principles are eternal, and they define for all time how we are to love God and love our neighbour. There is nothing new under the sun, and all the ways of men can be evaluated by the eternal standards found in scripture. We will reap what we sow, collectively and individually. So this series is to give you insight into the commandments of the Lord our God, and how they will help us avoid evil consequences, and gain God’s blessings.
Who is Your Authority?
Consider the first commandment! It is all about who you trust to tell you the truth about right and wrong, good and evil. It involves placing confidence in someone who has greater insight and intellect than yourself. It is a matter of who you will allow to have the primary place of authority in your life. So, who are your authorities?
Idolatry in Paul’s day still included the small religious objects of worship. But Paul warned of a more insidious form of idolatry. Paul cautioned that men would be ‘lovers of self’ and ‘lovers of money.’ A counterfeit would develop, that would have a ‘religious facade’ while elevating human endeavour as worthy of worship. The result would be a sensual, hedonistic, cruel and godless society.
Those Who Bear God’s Name
It is no easy matter to bear God’s name! Moses and Jesus agree that there are proper and improper uses of God’s name. And, they go far beyond casual swearing in daily conversation. There is much more to the third commandment about not taking God’s name in vain, than using God’s name in silly banter or irreverent dialogue.
God set the Sabbath apart, it was holy time, and it was a sign between him and his people through all generations. It was a weekly opportunity for God to commune with his people and teach them to follow his path. So what was the consequence of forgetting the Sabbath, of choosing another path?
The fifth commandment unites the two key concepts of love for God and love for neighbour that provide the executive summary of God’s will for humanity. The fifth commandment is one of family loyalty, that is owed to God as our spiritual Father and Creator, and our parents as those who were our first caregivers. And it is the family that has provided the foundation for all civilized society.
Murder and the Greater Good
When is it murder? Is it OK to kill a few for the greater good of the many? This is a good question for the approaching Passover season. The New Covenant Passover (Lord’s Supper) with the bread and wine symbols, as observed by Jesus’ disciples, anticipated the Messiah’s death — his murder. Do you know what the scriptures reveal about this important topic, addressed simply in the commandment, “You shall not murder.”
Along with changing attitudes towards sexuality, and marriage, divorce has gone from rare to commonplace. L’a ThN’aPh – the Hebrew transliteration of the seventh commandment says simply, “No adultery” This is an eternal principle that transcends any circumstance. It is a light to guide the path of those who believe God. Yet, throughout scripture we see the principles encompassed in this simple sacred command elaborated in detail.
The Eighth commandment, Lo T’ganav literally means, “NO you steal!” This is God’s instruction for combatting theft and deception. It is sometimes easy to ignore our complicity in this problem. We can perhaps quickly say that we are not pirates, burglars, robbers, or thieves. But then, perhaps we are not truly grasping the full implications of this command.
In a time when liars figure, and figures lie, what is the relevance of the ninth commandment, ” You shall not bear false witness?” Was it just a narrow rule given to a primitive people dealing with perjury in courtroom situations? Or does this principle encoded in God’s divine directives have universal applications? The apostle John boldly asserted that sin was a disregard for God’s commandments.