#2 – Summing up the Ten Commandments

“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 trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Exodus 20: 18-19.

No kidding. I would be afraid too. God told Moses that the people weren’t even allowed to touch the base of the mountain or they would be put to death. The people told Moses that he would have to tell them everything God was telling Moses. They wanted him to be the go between or the mediator. I think this is what God wanted.  Could you imagine everyone up on the mountain, listening to God? There would be questions, people wanting to eat or drink, people needing to use the facilities, interruptions galore. I could just see the mayhem now. There is at least one or two people who just can’t sit still.

God came down to the top of the mountain in fire and smoke and clouds. That would be pretty intimidating. (Also, answers my question about is heaven really up there? The Bible definitely says God came down to the top of the mountain.) I also would wonder about God’s voice. What did it sound like? Moses was lucky enough to hear it. He also knew the rules and knew what God expected from him. A few other people got to go up the mountain but they were only at God’s invitation. It was all respected.

However, the people definitely did tell Moses to be their mediator. They weren’t going to take any chances. God said that no one could even touch the base of the mountain or they would be put to death by stoning or arrows. I can’t imagine either one of those being a fast or easy death. Not unless someone had a really good arm and could make the first blow or arrow the fatal one. Moses was willing and he became their mediator. The ten commandments were the first set of laws for the Israelites.

The ten commandments are still relevant to everyone today. In my previous blog, I said that we are all sinful and that keeping the ten commandments is difficult. Probably next to impossible. It isn’t just keeping the commandment. It is everything leading up to the commandment. All your thoughts and actions before the final act of disobeying the commandment.

We don’t have Moses today to be our mediator but we have someone that is the best mediator of all time. Jesus. We are so lucky to have Jesus on our side. He was on earth in human form. He knew exactly what it was like for us. He walked with us, beside us. Talked to us. Had all the same things happen to him physically (and more) that we are dealing with. It doesn’t mean that we are home free. We can’t just keep sinning and think, oh well. It’s okay. I’ve got Jesus on my side. It’s just too hard to keep obeying these commandments and doing the right thing. I’ll just do what I can and then at the end, beg for forgiveness and Jesus will give me a free pass.

I don’t think that is how it is going to work. I think at the end of your life, you will be held accountable for everything you did. I know at the end of my life, I will be asking for forgiveness. I will probably ask God that He spare all the people I love. A lot of people believe that at the end times, Christians will be taken up to heaven. I will be that person who tells God, I can’t go. I need to stay behind and make sure everyone I love is saved. Well, this is for another topic.

The ten commandments apply very much today. We all need to look them over and think about them with deep honesty. With our whole heart. We need to say, oh my! These commandments are difficult but I will honestly try. When I mess up, I need to ask for forgiveness. We are all so lucky that we have Jesus looking out for us. There is peace in that.

The Third Commandment

“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.” Exodus 20:7.

On the surface, this commandment looks pretty simple. Don’t swear using God or Jesus as a swear word. Really. There are so many other swear words which are so much better. Unfortunately, today’s society seems to keep using their names in vain. I also every once in a while, forget myself and use it. Some authors have suggested that any one who uses their names in vain, deep down inside know that there is a God.  That would include intellectual atheists/agnostics, activists, seeker-agnostic, anti-theist, non-theist, and ritual atheist/agnostic. I had to look up the list of terms that are now used for non believers. Then, all these people who have turned their backs on God, are knowingly acknowledging that there is a God.

It doesn’t end here though. Taking God’s name in vain applies to Christians. So many times, Christians will say, “Praise the Lord”. Unless that person is using it with their heart and truly thinking of praising the Lord, this is taking the Lord’s name in vain. Any person who attends church, sings songs, sits through a sermon without totally involving their head and their heart in the service, is taking the Lord’s name in vain. Actions without conscious effort and thought and involving the whole heart, is blasphemous.

Perhaps that is why I hesitate finding a church home. I have visited too many churches and not continued because of the lip service I see. There have only been two or three churches that have truly made an effort to welcome newcomers. As I stand and look at the congregation, many people are distracted by their children, their phones, their friends, etc. They are not paying attention and giving full heart to the service. It has become more a thing for people to be seen going to church. Then as these people leave church, they are in a rush to get to their next destination and finish all their tasks of the day (which is breaking the fourth commandment).

People taking actions in the name of the Lord is also breaking this commandment. Terrorists who think they are promoting their cause by killing others in the name of God, are breaking this commandment. Any one who says they are fulfilling a prophecy and taking action on it is a false prophet. Anyone who does not commit an action without truly praying about it and having their heart filled with love, is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

These are all actions I already knew were wrong. Readings by various learned theologians have shown that I was on the right track. Now I know how to categorize these actions. Jesus has said that anyone who comes to heaven declaring His name, could be turned away and sent to hell as He will know who truly has the Lord Jesus in his heart. Bottom line is don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.