The Ten Commandments – Exodus 19:1-20:21

The Ten Commandments – Exodus 19:1-20:21

Whether in courthouses, town halls, or on the front lawns of public buildings; in the last century there has been plenty of debate and discussion about the public display of the Ten Commandments.  Along with nativity scenes and “Christmas” trees, it’s easy to get the soldiers riled up and ready to go to battle in the culture wars.

It’s interesting to note however, that not many of us post “The Ten Commandments” in our homes… or have nativity scenes on our own front lawns.  I find it fascinating that some people demand the government do what they don’t choose to do themselves.

But even more interesting to me is this:  The tablets of the Testimony were never intended to be a monument or a poster.  If you keep reading through the giving of the covenant, you discover that God gave careful instructions for the construction of an ark–a large box which would hold the sacred tablets.  And to top it off, we know that people weren’t allowed to simply open the ark whenever they wanted… even touching it carelessly could result in death.  The ark was carefully placed in the Most Holy Place, and was only taken out when they moved from place to place.

No… the tablets were quickly hidden away… never to be seen again.

What becomes quickly clear is that the ancient Israelites were supposed to internalize these Ten Words–the summary statement of their covenant with God.  They were to be memorized… written on their hearts… and lived out in all that they did.  The covenant was not a mandate passed down from “on high,” but an invitation to live in relationship with God–to be shaped by the heart of God.

We are called to be God’s people,
Showing by our lives His grace,
One in heart and one in spirit,
Sign of hope for all the race.
Let us show how He has changed us,
And remade us as His own;
Let us share our life together
As we shall around His throne.
                                       – Thomas A. Jackson