You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, so last time we left Moses at the top of the mountain with God, and he's going to get the 10 suggestions. The 10 good ideas for living life. Nice pieces of advice.
No, that's how a lot of people look at the 10 commandments, but they're much more than just 10 tips for life. And we're going to look at that today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning and welcome to our dining room table. I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim.
And this is More Than Ink. And we have arrived at Mount Sinai in the book of Exodus. We are about to dive into that huge statement that we know is the 10 commandments.
It's literally the 10 words that God spoke. Yeah. We left Moses at the top of the mountain. Yeah. And we said last time, remember that we need to understand that Moses had gone up and come down several times over the course of the days that they were there at the beginning.
And each time he goes up and God says something and he comes down and tells the people, the people respond, Moses takes the word back to God. So here today we get this big final statement, this very complete statement. Right.
Very famous. The 10 words. Yes. Well, let's just jump right in because this is going to take a while. Well, and it's very interesting to me that there's a lot of words around the first four or five commandments, right, until we get to the Sabbath day.
And then they're very short after that. Yeah. So let's just start reading the beginning of chapter 20. But we have lots of words. Oh, well. Yeah. Well, anyway. Maybe we shouldn't.
So you'll see in the 10 commandments, I don't know how familiar you are with them, but the first four focus in on our conduct with God and five through 10, our conduct with man. So it's interestingly split. Yeah. It's who he is. Yeah. And then who we are. And who we are.
As a consequence of that. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Let's start reading.
So just keep watch. I'll start reading. Chapter 20, verse one. Moses is up there with God 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. Number one, 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 an 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, Emma jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
But showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Okay, stop. We got to stop.
I'm already I got too many things to say. So we start off with, you know, it's interesting before he gets the first commandment, he reminds them, I'm the guy that got you out of Egypt. I'm your God. Right. So here's the authority statement right here.
I got you out of Egypt. So the first one, number on verse three, you shall have no other gods before me. That sounds pretty straightforward.
It's pretty straight forward. But now he's going to elaborate a little bit. Right. So don't make a carved image, nothing in heaven above, nothing on earth beneath, nothing in the water. Right.
Anything that the Egyptians had an image of or any of the other pagan nations had, you know, carved symbols of nature. Yeah. Yeah. You don't do that because I am the unseen God, the invisible God. That is so common in false religion is is, you know, mankind has a sense that God exists.
And so to give him kind of a tangible touch, he makes a he carved something. Right. We want a God we can see, which we know is going to happen to the Israelites, not very far in the future.
Totally. But what do you make of this statement? He says, you shall not bow down to them in verse five or serve them for I, the Lord, your God. So he's saying, I am that I am. I'm your God. I'm a jealous God. I'm a jealous God.
Visiting the iniquity of the fathers and the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, it's a lot of people who are critical of the Bible say, well, this proves that there's other gods because God's jealous because there's other gods he's jealous of. And that's a really bad way to look at it. That's just that's not true at all. But the jealousy is it is an issue of of a mutually exclusive relationship. Right. That's what we're really talking about here. Yeah, it's exclusivity. And and despite the fact that there really are no other gods in the universe.
You read Isaiah 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, how many is very clear about that? We can we're like little idol factories. We make we make our own gods and then we carve our own images and God saying, I'm not going to have any of that. I don't want you to have your manmade idols between you and me.
Just just drop all that stuff. I'm jealous. Well, and we think of jealousy as a negative thing. Right. But but in this case, that when God applies it to himself, it means he is rightly zealous for what is exclusively his. He has an exclusive claim on the hearts of mankind. Yeah.
And anything else that would intrude on that God is jealous against. After all, he brought him out of Egypt. Right. So, I mean, they used to belong to Pharaoh in that sense. Well, they never belonged to Pharaoh. They look like they were.
Right. Because God says they're not yours. They're mine. They always have been. But I mean, that's the issue is they've always belonged to God.
They always were gods. And so so here he's basically saying, since, you know, we have this mutually exclusive relationship. Right. Don't make idols in between us. That's just nuts.
So then why does he attach to it? I'm a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers and the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. It's important that we understand that correctly, because what God is saying to them is your idolatry will impact the future generations.
It flows downhill. It's going to impact your children. It's a serious warning. Yeah. He doesn't mean that if I sin, then my kids are going to pay for it. Right. However, in a sense, they sort of do because there is all the junk that comes with sin and it will affect them. There is no sin.
No sin will impact my children. Exactly. And so that's what he's saying here. So this statement is not intended as a punishment. It's intended as a deterrent.
Right. It's a way of saying if you love your kids and your kids' kids and your kids' kids', stay faithful to me. Stay faithful, because what you do is going to flow down to them. Because I show my steadfast love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments. There's that pair again. Love me and keep my commandments.
Love me and treasure what I tell you. Yeah. Yeah. And so there is a threat here. And I said it when I said we're idol factories. There is a threat here that even in this modern era, when we think we're so spiritually and religiously freed. Enlightened. Enlightened.
All that kind of stuff. You say, there's really no threat to being an idol person. Well, actually you are. You make idols all the time.
And when you say you're not, then you are just demonstrating how blind we are. Exactly. And it's easy to spot your idols. They're the things that you look to to find life. They're the things you invest in hoping they'll give back to you. Life. You know, it's like sacrificial worship.
The things that you rely upon to find life that are outside of you. That's an idol. That's an idol. And money can operate as an idol.
Popularity. Power can operate as an idol. Many things can operate as an idol. Because you look to them to bring you life. He says, no, don't look to those things to bring you life.
That's just not going to work out well. Yeah. He demands a hundred percent. Devotion. Yeah. Undivided devotion.
Exclusivity. Yeah. And that's what we're about here.
And because God is who he is, he has a right to expect and demand. Yeah. Exclusive worship. Yeah. Yeah. That's exactly right. So that's why this is right at the front. Right at the get-go. Yeah. No other gods before me. Don't make an image because I am rightly, righteously zealous for you.
You are exclusively mine. So that actually echoes the marriage relationship. It does. It's exactly that.
It's exclusive. Yes. And, you know, human beings will twist jealousy because of our sin. But it is right. It can be righteous for a spouse to be rightly zealous for the exclusive devotion of their spouse.
Yeah. And a lot of people look at this and say, wow, your God is very narrow-minded. I mean, why doesn't he allow you to kind of dabble on other gods and stuff like that?
Well, he alone is God. Exactly. But you would never make that claim about a marriage relationship. You know, your spouse is very narrow-minded.
Why won't they let you kind of sleep with other people? Yeah. Because in the marriage relationship, God through that is telling us this exclusive relationship mirrors my relationship with you. It has to be exclusive. And that's why God allows in Deuteronomy a divorce clause for the purpose or for the sake of unfaithfulness.
That marriage covenant of exclusivity has already been broken. Yeah. Yeah. And I might point out as we're going on here this whole thing about the images and stuff like that. That's poorly interpreted by people lots of times saying you can't paint a picture of Jesus.
Right. Well, you know, only if you're tempted to worship it. If you paint a picture of Jesus and you put it in your living room and you put candles around it and you sacrifice to it, you do some kind of little idol worship of this picture. And when the picture's gone, you don't have God there.
It's like, see, it kind of gets in the way. It ends up being a middle man. But we are in this relationship with God. And it's a tricky business for us as created beings.
We are physical. And now God's saying, I intend for you to have relationship with me. But Jesus told the woman at the well, you have to worship God in spirit and in truth. Right. In spirit. And that's what I'm saying is tricky.
It's not impossible. But the burden of making this relationship work actually rests on God. He's the one that reaches to us and bridges. And if you remember, Jesus said to Philip, when Philip said, if you just show us the Father, it'll be enough. Jesus said, you know, don't you get it yet? If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. But having pictures of Jesus kind of poses us a problem because then we superimpose on that picture.
All the qualities that we think we see. And so that, you know, it's troubling. We need to press on. Well, and I'll just make the point, too, is that I said this last time is that God has his relationship established with Israel at the beginning through his word. That's a word-based relationship. And that's how it has to stay. Instead of being a physical, visual relationship, it has to be based on the word, on his word.
And that's central. That's central to the relationship. And so for a spirit being like God, it sort of makes sense. Our relationship is based on these concepts of his word and who he is.
So that's just extra. Okay, yeah, boy, there's a lot I want to say about that, but we need to press on. Okay, let's get to the third. Okay, verse seven. 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.
Pause. Boy, is this badly interpreted. We don't understand that. I heard someone once say, this means, and I so value this, this means if we accept the name of God on us and claim to be named by him, right? We belong to God. And then we live slanderously in a way that subjects God's holy name to slander. That's what this means. Or if we live fraudulently, right? We say, well, I belong to God and God belongs to me, and then we live in a way that is directly opposed to the character of God. So we're not talking about necessarily swearing and including the name of God or the name of Jesus.
That can be included, but that's not the biggest picture. No. Like if you haven't sworn using his name in the last week, you still might be guilty of this.
Oh, I think we haven't a clue how guilty we are. And it helps me to go back to how I define terms. When you talk about the name of God, because it says don't take the name of the Lord your God in vain. The name in an ancient sense always means is the encapsulation of the reputation of a person or something. You name them based on their reputation. So when we talk about the name of God, we're talking about his reputation, who he is, I mean the nature of who he is. So if somehow you identify yourself with the nature of who God is and then you do it for a wrong purpose, then you're actually dragging his reputation into the mud.
That's why the hypocrisy part of it, you take it on but you act differently. In a second here, the nation of Israel is going to be known around the world as people who have God at the center. What happens if they start living like idiots?
Right. Well, actually they will. Worse than idiots. Yeah, it's going to do something to the perceived name of God in the rest of the world. And the problem is these things you do are vacuous. They're empty.
They have absolutely no benefit at all in that you're dragging God's name. In fact, the word vain means empty. So if you go toward empty things and identify God's name to it, look what you're doing to the name of God. And in the same way, when a wife and husband marry and the wife takes her husband's name, her identity is now tied up with his. But if she then goes out and lives in a sexually provocative manner or sexually unfaithful manner, she is making the marriage empty. Empty, yeah. Which is the same idea of it taking his name in vain and living slanderously.
You did exactly what I do all the time too. If it's cloudy to me what this means, I go back to the marriage relationship. Because that's meant to be a very deliberate picture. It's a working picture for us to kind of figure out what does God exactly mean. And that makes it really clear. That makes it very clear what this is all about. There's a whole bunch of being identified with frivolous things and with hypocritical things and even with profane things. But we're talking about all of that. If you're going to take the name of God and say, I live in the nation where God is at its center.
Man, you better watch your P's and Q's. You do not want to drag God's reputation. And know who God is. And know who God is, yeah.
That's taking the name of the Lord of God in vain. Oh my gosh. Number four. Keep moving. Okay, I'll read this. So remember the Sabbath day.
This is a big one. This is the fourth commandment. 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 or your male servant or your female servant or your livestock or your sojourner who is within your game. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that's in them and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
We better stop there. He set it apart. So yeah, remember holy just means set apart.
Like it's different from everything else. Now he had already given them the idea of the Sabbath with the manna. Yeah, that's right. With the manna. He said six days gather it. The seventh day it's a rest day. You're going to get twice as much the day before and God has given you the Sabbath. Yeah, that's right.
The day of rest on the basis of the fact that God has set this model himself. Yeah, yeah because God's doing this and so you should do this and if you're my people then you'll do this with me. That's so much more than God does this so you should do this. No, but I mean. I just hate even presenting it that way. Well I was going to connect it.
Okay. The deal is and I've always made this, I've made this picture with farmers and stuff like that. If you're a farmer you realize if you take a day off, if I take a day off then my crops are going to fail.
I mean the bugs are going to come in, the weeds are going to come in. I mean it's like it's perpetual diligence is what it is. And God says to this agrarian people as well as us, you can take a day off and I'll cover all that stuff. It's really an issue of trust.
And for what purpose? Of just sitting around twiddling your thumbs? No, this is a Sabbath to the Lord. The issue is relationship with God. You can actually have a day in the week where you can meet with God and not be encumbered by all that other stuff. What a great luxury. And so that's why he says so often it's a Sabbath to the Lord. Right. Not that you're serving him but you're actually saying hey I get to take some time off, kick back, you know get an iced tea, read his word and have a relationship with the Lord. Well in a day of recognizing.
It's a great luxury. Leaning our entire weight. Yeah. On the rock, the bedrock of what God has done.
Yes. And God has invited us into his rest. And into his presence. And that's actually the core of why we have this society is to be in his presence. And that's what setting aside all this work allows us to do with a great luxury.
I mean it's just incredible. And not be distracted by all that kind of stuff. I was thinking as well about the fact that in the New Testament many of the writers will say that the Sabbath is kind of a picture. The Sabbath is a shadow and the fulfillment is in Christ.
So we don't really have time to go into this deeply. But what we find is because of what Christ has done for us it allows us to live a Sabbath life not just one day out of the week but every day of the week. In the same way that God rested from his works. We rested from our works in terms of impressing God and that's due to Christ. So the Sabbath idea from the New Testament is a perpetual state of being. It's not a one day a week. Right.
We don't have time to talk about that enough. Deeply settled in what God has accomplished and he invites us in. Where we rest in what he has done and not worry about what we haven't done. And rest in who he is. And rest in who he is.
In his presence. It's a big big deal. It's central to so much. So well there's a reason why this Sabbath command is central in the Ten Commandments. It's right in the middle and it has the most text devoted to it.
It does. The most explanatory text. Because this is a turning point in the Ten Commandments. Everything that came before is about who is God and who are you in relation to him. But here we turn a corner that kind of becomes more about and so what is the evidence and the fruit of the people who rest in God. The outgrowth of this nation whose behavior is going to testify to who God is.
So the first part is who is God and the second part is so who are you? How shall you live? So for instance the fifth one in verse 12 will honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving to you.
Wow. Honor your father and mother. Well because God has set up human life that we pass life from generation to generation to generation. None of us got here without a father and a mother. Yeah that's right. That's right. So even if your father and mother were godless or wicked or abusive God says now recognize that I have put in place the fact that life comes to you.
Spiritual life comes to you from God but physical human life comes to you through the means of a father and a mother. Yeah. And recognize that.
Yeah. That's why in our current culture we grieve so much when we see the nuclear family kind of disintegrating and going away. I mean everyone still has a mother and father but do you actually have a mother and father that you live with when you're young and who train you up?
No we don't. So it actually violates and it's an assault against the Ten Commandments. It's against the fundamental backbone of how God has designed the society is fathers and mothers. I remember someone saying one time they said just to cast a little bit of silliness in here it's like if I don't honor my mother she's going to shorten my life. Well here it says if you honor my mother you'll live long in the land but there's more to it than just to shorten your life. It's the fact that hey if you want a good life you need to honor your father and mother.
It's by design from God to bless you. Right. So just do it.
Just do it. And the most fundamental blessing being you received human life. Yeah you received life.
Through the union of a father and a mother. Yep. So honor that. Yep. Honor that. Okay let's push on. Okay. You shall not murder.
Why? Because God is a life giver and all life belongs to him. Yep.
And if you are his people living in relationship with him you will not take life. Exactly. Because it doesn't belong to you. Yep.
It belongs to God. Now there's warrants and circumstances that you can take life but not for selfish purposes. Well there's a difference between murder and killing. Exactly. And that's why I like the fact that ESV here says murder.
Yes. Because that's what we're talking about here. And Jesus equates that to hate. So if you take a life based on hate that's what we're talking about. Well he even says actually if you think it you're already a murderer.
Yeah you just haven't had the opportunity to do it yet. Exactly. But it's in us. Oh is it in us?
It's in us. Yeah. Number seven. Verse 14. You shall not commit adultery. Yeah.
This is again back to that mutually exclusive relationship that's built into husbands and wives. Yeah. And this you know I was thinking this predates this.
I mean they knew this. If you get to Joseph at the end of Genesis. Right. Joseph and Potiphar's wife you know he's denying her and saying no I'm not going to do this. This is wrong.
I'm not going to offend God. Yeah this is wrong. So this is not a new idea.
This is a very old idea. And Paul goes back to when God created man and woman he created man and woman. Yeah. For each other. Right. And the two shall become one flesh.
They are exclusively connected to one another. Yeah. Yeah. Number nine. You shall not bear a false witness against your neighbor. Wait you jumped one. Is that a deal?
Oh yeah. You shall not steal. You shall not steal. Verse 15.
Why? Because everything belongs to God. Exactly. Don't be taken what's not yours. And like I've always said this is just really good because I'd rather live in a society that doesn't steal than one that does. This is good for us not to steal. Yeah.
So yeah. Number nine. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Saying bad things about your neighbor.
Why? Demeaning who they are. Because God is truth. Yep. Yep. God speaks truth.
So you need to be people who speak truth. Yep. Yep. And don't be robbing your neighbor of their good character or their good reputation. Yeah.
Character assassination. And then number 10 in verse 17. 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 his motorcycle or anything...
Wait, that's not there. Or anything that's your neighbor's. So anything that your neighbor has you shouldn't be looking at that saying, I wish I had that. And instead you need to conduct yourselves in a way that you are content with what you have.
Well, why? Yes, because God gives to each one he loves his daily bread. Exactly. And they've already got the manna. God has given each one exactly what he needs for the day.
And Jesus taught us to pray that, God give us today my needful bread. So if I'm resting in God's provision for me, then I don't need to be envying what somebody else has. Yeah. And the degree to which you pant over, which is what that word cover means, other people stuff, you're saying that God has not given me enough. Yes.
It's blaming God. Yeah. And the writer in Hebrews 13 says basically, you need to conduct yourself in such a way that what you have is all you need. And God has given that to you. Okay, let's finish this out. We just got a few minutes left here.
So where are we? Verse 18. Verse 18. Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and they trembled and they stood far off and said to Moses, you speak to us and we'll listen, but don't let God speak to us lest we die. I find that fascinating.
I do too. And it's been already said on a previous visit up and down the mountain with Moses, everything the Lord says we'll do. Yeah, we'll do it. But here they hear and they see the trembling and the mountain and the smoke and the fire and they're like, oh, we don't want to hear from this God anymore. This is a big deal.
We want a human mediator. Yep. Yep.
It's a big deal. Verse 20. So Moses said to the people, do not fear for God has come to test you that the fear of him may be before you that you may not sin.
The people stood far off while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. Yep. It's interesting. Don't do not fear, but you need to fear him. Well, yeah, you don't need to.
That needs some teasing apart. Yeah. We're not talking about fear in terms of being afraid of God, but fear in terms of being properly reverent for God. And I want you to take seriously the nature of sin is what he's saying.
Right. So that you may not sin because sin, I always say this all the time, is self-destructive in some fashion. It's self-destructive. It usually manipulates other people. I mean, it's just bad.
It's toxic. But it separates you from a holy God. And that's the thing.
Who has already said, I love you and I want you to be mine. If the only thing that's good, the only one who's good is God himself, why would you separate yourself from him? And that's what sin does. It separates you from the goodness of God. That's a bad, that's a bad trait.
It's a really bad trait. So he says, I'm doing all this so that you'll fear, in a sense, you'll hide your respect. You'll deeply take this seriously. Properly understand. This is a big, big, big deal because I don't want you to sin.
It's a lesser life in so many ways if you sin. So we're going to come back to this a lot in the next few weeks. Yeah. Yeah.
Oh my goodness. One can't just skip merrily into the presence of God. He is holy and we can only approach him through the one way that he has put in place for us and that's through our Lord Jesus.
Yeah. So there's a God who loves us, who treasures us, and yet we have these self-inflicted wounds of sin, which we cannot earn our way out of. We cannot do enough in order to somehow impress him, but Christ has done that for us and he brings us into this relationship with him and he brings us near. That's not a New Testament message, that's an all Bible message and you see it first time right here. Well, not first time. No, not the first time.
It's reinforced as a nation right here. We will come back to the fear of the Lord in the coming weeks. Many times.
Many times. And how the law itself, this is the beginning of it, is like a tutor that brings us to Christ himself. We'll talk about that. We'll let you get there. So join us next time we talk about these things and we'll come back to the Ten Commandments over and over right here on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. I want to see that blank look again on your face, like, what, what, what am I supposed to say after that? Well, thank you so much for your time and good luck.
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