Have you ever heard of people saying that the Bible isn’t as relevant as it used to be? And, the rational, for most of them is that the Bible was written for people who are long gone.
Well, I totally disagree with all that. I hope you do too. The Bible, just as it was relevant for the people thousands of years ago, still is for us today.
In this post, I’m going to show you why the Bible still applies to our lives, even in this age. However, and for the sake of this blog post, I will use a piece of Scripture coming from my Sunday message.
The message was the last in our sermon series, The Exodus Narrative: Hope and Victory.
Listen to the full audio below:
Just as the title says it, it’s based on the book of Exodus. In case you have missed the other parts, here they are:
You can also watch the video below.
The Ten Commandments represent a new way of life God gave to the Israelites preparing them for the promised land
So, the commandments are not to prevent us from doing what we want. Instead, their purpose is to help us be free to love, care and serve God, and other people.
That’s what I am going to share with you about in the following lines.
To help you with that, I will divide the commandments into two groups: the foundation and what they’re all about.
God empowers you through faith in Jesus Christ to do what’s pleasing to God.
Begin by reading these verse:
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20: 3,4,7-8. ESV.
You can’t talk about verses 12 through 17 without taking a look at the above verses.
Why do we have to start with these commandments in verses 3, 4, 7 and 8?
The obvious answer is that these four commandments have to do with GOD. They represent the foundation of everything else.
- God, we read about in the Bible, should be your only GOD. Have no other god!
- Don’t equate God with anything created. God is the Creator, and all that we see or can think of is a tiny piece of God’s nature.
- Remember the Sabbath. And, make it holy.
For centuries, the Christian society has used Sunday as our Sabbath. The original intent was to do nothing rather than Church.
The practice of Sabbath is a Jewish tradition coming out of God’s Word Moses gave to the Israelites.
It’s a day of rest as God rested the seventh day. God wants us to rest. Not only, do we have to remember to rest, but that we should make this day holy.
It is God’s day, and thus we spend the best of our time during this day in God’s presence. This value is, but, fading away, now that the world has moved beyond Christendom.
Most countries used to take Sunday as the day of the Lord. But, it is no more the case. People schedule work, sport, community activities and vacations over the weekend.
Whether they attend Church or not, no one cares. The importance of observing the first four commandments ins’t about being in Church. It is more about strengthening your personal relationship with God.
It should aim at helping you re-connect with Jesus Christ. So, the idea of having Sunday as the Sabbath day is changing and will never go back to what it was centuries ago.
Understanding that what matters is finding time to re-connect is what the Bible is all about. If you don’t live in a harmonious and healthy relationship with God, it becomes harder to live God’s way.
The other commandments are what we read in verses 12 through 17. They do not offer a list of “not to do” things. These commandments are about four basic human needs.
These are things that make you the happiest and most fulfilled person here on earth. They also represent God’s intention for you and me today, as they did for the people of Israel.
Living out God’s commandments, and on a daily basis, lessens the impacts of sin (or evil) in our society.
Let’s take a look at those four basic human needs that the commandments, in Exodus 20: 12-17, are addressing.
It’s all about family
Read verse 12:
Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20: 12. ESV.
You know the question is “why God is asking the people of Israel, including us, to honor our father and mother?”
I’ll split this verse into two to make better sense out of it.
- First, honor. To honor is to regard what God is asking of you with admiration and respect. You don’t stop there, but have to live up to what God wants you to do: honor your mother and father. In other words, to honor means a commitment to fulfilling what God requires of us on a daily basis.
- Second, honor your father and mother. When you think of the father, the original word that translates into father in English, means other things too. For example, it also translates in other contexts: ancestors, household, family or people. The word that translates into mother in English also has many other things. It does not only to deal with mother in singular, but also in plural, mothers. Another way to look at it is that it implies how you were raised and your heritage.
The commandments are therefore talking about family, family values, and heritage.
Not that you only honor all that, but, you also have the responsibility to love, care for and serve.
You’ve got to love, care for and serve your mothers, fathers, family members, and community.
It’s all about feelings and emotions
God’s Ten Commandments are about you having control over your emotions and feelings.
A healthy manner to love, care for and help others is when you are response-able. That’s kind of a wrong way to write the word, responsible. Isn’t it?
Some people refer to being responsible as a two piece-word: response and able. Here’s what will make more sense, responsibility: response-ability.
Read verse 13-16:
You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. ESV.
These verses address the following: murder, adultery, stealing and false witness (lying). What all these are pointing out to is how we respond to our feelings and emotions. Back to response-ability.
You can’t truly care for, love and serve others if you are not able to choose how to respond to your emotions and feelings. Your ability to do so is key to how you live on a daily basis.
Response-ability does not only have to do with your own emotions and feelings. It deals with the emotions and feelings of other people too. Response-ability is something we can’t be able to get on our own.
First, Jesus says that:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15: 5. ESV.
If you don’t abide in Jesus, which takes us back to the foundation of it all (commandments 1 through 4), you can’t bear fruit. Read Galatians 5: 22-23,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ESV.
Also, apart from Jesus Christ, you cannot do anything at all.
It’s all about wants versus needs
The same commandments above also address the issue about wants versus needs. Response-ability deals with your choices between wants (desires) and personal needs.
These are two terms, and one often can be used for the other, or vice-versa. When you think of a want, it’s more about a desire or a wish.
But, a need is more of desire or wish, without which, you can’t live. For example, thirst is a desire that has to be met. It’s a need, which if you don’t meet, can affect your health.
You’ll get dehydrated, which is not good for you. Any drive, longing or desire that does not build you or others up is not good for you. That’s how you should decide what’s a need and how you’ll meet it.
Do not give up to anything that does not help you care for, serve and love other people.
It’s all about integrity
These verses, 13 through 16, in addition to verse 17, speak to integrity. Let’s take a look at 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 anything that is your neighbor’s.
This piece of Scripture, along with the ones we’ve looked at, come down to integrity as a choice you’ve got to make.
The Ten commandments offer you a new way of life and empower you to experience the following:
- God finds a place in your life.
- Family becomes your priority and has an important role in your life.
- You are able to respond to your emotions, as well as those of other people. You have the freedom to care for, love and serve them.