God’s Word From The Mountain

Exodus 20:1-21

The late Ronald Reagan once said: “I have wondered at times what the 10 Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.” Well, the former President makes an interesting point. A typical bill in Congress is as thick as a Dallas phone book. But history reveals that our greatest documents were brief and to the point.  For instance, the Gettysburg address had only 286 words and the Declaration of Independence has 1,300 words. But the  Government’s regulations on cabbage sales is 26,911 words. Now in contrast, the Lord’s prayer has only 66 words and the 10 Commandments has 179.

I guess God’s the master of “getting to the point”.  It doesn’t take Him long to say what He needs to say. Perhaps, it’s because He knows we have a very short attention span.

Teachers and parents understand “short attention” spans. Perhaps, that’s why when Jesus was asked what was the “greatest commandment” He took the 179 words of the 10 Commandments and simplified it to about 40 words. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.  And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

In that reply, Jesus summed up the 10 Commandments. But Jesus did more than just summarize the Law of Moses. The Bible says that Jesus made us alive with Him by forgiving us of our sins and blotting out the ordinances against us by nailing them to the cross. (Colossians 2) The Law of Moses was crucified with Christ.

Society is still under the 10 Commandments, which is the guide to their “moral standard.” Even our legal system is based upon the principles of God’s Law, which makes it dependable and trustworthy. But Christians are different.  They are not under the 10 Commandments, but under the “Law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) Society has a religion as it’s model while believers have a relationship with Jesus.

The 10 Commandments are impossible for mankind to keep.   So why would God give the Israelites the commandments knowing they could never keep them?  It was to show them just how much they needed God.  That they were not strong enough to do it by themselves. The only person who has ever kept them all was Jesus. The Bible says that the rest of us “…have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And the price for our falling short? Death! As Romans 6:23 says: “the wages of sin is death.”

As a matter of fact, the punishment for breaking any of the Commandments found in Exodus 20 was death. If you worked on the Sabbath…you were put to death. If you murdered someone, committed adultery, cursed your mother or father, then it was death. And since nobody could keep the law, then everyone was going to die! But their law breaking or sins could be covered by innocent blood. So year after year and again and again, the Israelites sacrificed the blood of animals for the forgiveness of their sins.

So, what did these sacrifices really accomplish? Well, according to Romans 3:20, “through the law we become conscious of sin.” You see, the Law’s purpose was to reveal God’s righteousness vs. our sinfulness. It showed us that we needed a Savior! We needed the ultimate sacrifice. We needed someone who was perfect, spotless, blameless, and sinless. We needed Jesus Christ!

We needed the blood of the only innocent man who ever lived to cover our sins…to cover our mistakes, bad choices, our arrogance, pride, and ego. Hopefully, to allow us time to get to a place in our lives where we could humble ourselves before the God who loves us more than we could ever understand.

In our bathrooms at home we have a mirror with a wash basin underneath. For the lost, they see a person who’s hurting, who’s searching, who’s lost and regardless how many times they wash themselves in the basin, they’ll never be clean.

But when a child of God looks in the mirror, they may be ashamed of what they see at times, but in the cool waters of repentance, they can be made clean…forgiven…and loved. What do you see, when you look in the mirror?