Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Peace be with you!
We have different relationships with each person you interact with. Some individuals, we just pass on the street or in the hallway at work and quickly wave hello, while with others we may have a two-minute conversation about the weather. Some friends call us every day to discuss every part of our lives, while other friends only call once a week or month. Each relationship is defined by our interactions and mutual respect (or lack of respect) for the other person.
When God gives Moses the Ten Commandments, he shapes his relationship with the Israelites and gives them ethics to live by. These laws give the Israelites a base on which to live out their lives according to God’s will. The first four commandments deal with the relationship between God and the Israelites: no other gods, no idols, do not use the Lord’s name in vain, and remember the Sabbath (Exodus 20:3-11). God lays out what he expects from the Israelites and sets boundaries for the relationship. God wants to make sure the Israelites are faithful to him and only him. He does not want the Israelites running to other gods and making their own idols when things get tough. God knows we can only be faithful to one God. As his redeemed and holy nation, God expects the Israelites to honor him. In the same way, God redeems us through Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection as his holy nation and expects the same honor and respect from us.
The fifth commandment is to honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12). A relationship between two individuals should be based on mutual honor and respect. We need to respect the people in authority who work to pass laws to keep us safe, like the Lord. When we honor our relationships, we strengthen our relationship with God.
The last six commandments give guidelines to relationships between persons. We should not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet another person’s possessions or relationships (Exodus 20:13-17). When we break these commandments, we break the trust, the honor, and the respect we have with others. In his wisdom, God is giving us counsel here on how to build long-lasting relationships.
When we break the last six commandments, we go against God and those people we love the most. The Lord gives us these commandments to test our ability to be in a relationship with him and to instill fear in us to keep us from going against his will (Exodus 20:20). The Lord redeems the Israelites from Egypt and us from our sins. In return, the Lord asks us to keep the Ten Commandments in order to be in and maintain a relationship with him. The Ten Commandments explain the boundaries of our relationship with the Lord and build upon mutual honor, trust, and respect. In doing so, the Lord gives us the choice whether or not we want to be in a relationship with him.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for wanting to be in relationship with us. Help us to keep the Ten Commandments in order to strengthen our relationships with you and others. Lead us into relationships with mutual trust, honor, and respect. Thank you for helping us to live by honoring you and others. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How do you work at strengthening your relationship with the Lord?
- How do you model your relationship with the Lord through other relationships?