10-25-15 The Law Giver: The Commandments

Hopefully, this Update finds you and your household doing well as you prepare this week for Reformation Weekend.  Yes, that’s right -- 498 years ago Saturday, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church there in Wittenberg, sparking off the Protestant Reformation.  Luckily for us today, stores like to stock up on candy in preparation for the celebration...

But seriously, it’s worth remembering everything that people did in history to bring us to this point today.  In terms of contribution to the church, most of us tend to be more of the “show up for service on Sunday” variety, and we couldn’t imagine being willing to put our lives on the line to take a stand for a doctrinal perspective.  Would we even know our Bible well enough to know which perspective was worth putting our lives on the line for, and why?

That’s one of the reasons why we have our Adult Sunday School class on Church History -- to give us that sense of historical context, and to help us to understand not only what we believe and why, but also to understand the need to stand up for truth in the midst of a world that wouldn’t know truth if it came up and bit them on the nose.

But that’s also one of the reasons why we study things like the commandments of God that Moses gave the people in Exodus 20-31.  Did you know that in a recent survey, only 34% of Anglican priests could even name all Ten Commandments?  For that matter, if your life depended on it, could you sit down and scribble out the Ten Commandments, if called upon to do it right this second? 

And yet, we would probably all agree that they should be seen as the foundation for how we live out our relationship with the Lord.  So how can they be, really, if we don’t even know them?  The problem is that too many of us want them to be written in sermons and written on monuments and written on government buildings when originally, first and foremost, they were supposed to be written on our hearts.

Of course, there were a lot more than just ten commandments from God -- and all of them speak to us about the mind and the heart of the Creator who created us... and thus, about how we were created to live in the first place.  But it’s telling that the Ten Commandments themselves began with a reminder of who God truly is, followed by a series of four commands that build a vertical foundation for us, and then a series of six commands that horizontally build on that foundation.  What we do in this world truly is important (it makes up 3/5 of the Commandments), but our actions should always be based on our solid, healthy relationships with our Lord.

But that relationship -- like all relationships -- requires that we get to know Him and what’s important to Him.