10 COMMANDMENTS EXPLAINED . . .
“HONOR YOUR FATHER & MOTHER . . .”
¨ In the fifth commandment, the children were charged: “honor your father and mother.”
¨ If the children did not honor their parents and were rebellious and self-centered, they would not be able to learn about the covenant relationship with God which had been so central to the lives of their parents.
¨ And as a consequence of dishonoring their parents, they would not prosper in the promised land, for they would not know intimately the Lord of the covenant promise.
¨ Although the primary significance of the commandment had to do with the continuity of the covenant, one of the fruits of children honoring their parents was to provide a solid family structure for the Israelites.
¨ The fulfillment of the promise of the covenant God would be experienced only as the parents taught their children and as the children honored their parents and learned from the faith of their fathers.
¨ APPLICATION—Parents, don’t give your child the option of whether they want to sleep in or go to church to learn of God’s Truths. Make sure your child learns obedience at home and do not excuse disobedience from your child toward God or other adults at church, home, or elsewhere. It is vital that learn that concept for them to experience a blessed long life.
“YOU SHALL NOT KILL”
¨ This commandment deals specifically with murder and not with all forms of taking life.
¨ Thus it does not eliminate the possibility of capital punishment, which was present in Israelite legislation, nor does it prohibit war.
¨ The verb used in the commandment is ratsah, which is employed of killing persons, either in the sense of murder (premeditated killing) or of manslaughter, which involves accidental death and therefore requires a different type of legislation, is dealt with in Deut. 19:1-13.
¨ The prohibition of the sixth commandment is against the act of murder by a member of the covenant community for personal and illegitimate reasons.
¨ God alone, who had made man in His own image, had the right to terminate life.
¨ Thus an act of murder involved the abrogation of divine power, the taking away of that which God had given and which God alone could give, namely life itself.
¨ Love for fellow man involves accepting him as a fellow creature of God; to murder is to ignore man’s created nature, to ignore his worth in the sight of God and to eliminate him for purely personal reasons.
¨ The positive side of this commandment: thou shall live and have others to have full and meaningful life.
¨ APPLICATION—We are not murderers but we need to do a better job of showing love for fellow man by accepting him as a fellow creature of God. A creature made in the image of God. Also, we need to do all we can that we help others have a full and meaningful life in Christ. We must affirm life—not just say we are pro-life.
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
“YOU SHALL NOT COMMITT ADULTERY”
¨ The reason why adultery is singled out for attention in the Ten Commandments is because adultery, more than other illicit sexual behavior has to do with unfaithfulness in a relationship of commitment.
¨ Marriage was a binding commitment of faithfulness between two persons and it was in principle similar to the covenant relationship itself.
¨ It is this emphasis, that faithfulness must permeate every sphere of life, both the religious and the secular, that gives a distinctive character to the Israelite law on adultery.
¨ APPLICATION—Support the marriages in our church and provide opportunities for couples to build their relationship before it comes too late. Refrain from gossip when we hear of difficulties in marriage. We need to do all we can to build up and support the oneness of all the marriages
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
“YOU SHALL NOT STEAL”
¨ The prohibition is of theft, although the focus is more than just theft, it is concerned specifically with relationships between persons within the covenant community, along with property.
¨ Also included in this is the prohibition of man-stealing, something akin to kidnapping.
¨ APPLICATION—Evaluate in our own lives if we are paying all our bills. Are we stealing from our boss by not working hard for him/her when we are on the clock? Do we “forget” to return things from our neighbor or friends that are not ours?
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
“YOU SHALL NOT GIVE FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBOR”
¨ The prohibition of false witnesses—the wording of the commandment indicates that the primary prohibition has to do with the process of law.
¨ Vain witness—the word witness refers to a statement given against a neighbor (a fellow member of the covenant community) in a legal case.
¨ To bring false witness against a fellow member of the covenant community involved lying and various forms of deception; it would be motivated by self-interest.
¨ The focus of the commandment is thus again on the matter of personal human relationships, and it emphasizes the integrity and honesty required within the community of God.
¨ This has to do with gossip and half-truths about people. Guarding our tongue and refraining from passing on stories about someone.
¨ APPLICATION—Not partaking in the spread of gossip about a person falls under this commandment. Refraining from passing on information we know about someone is key. Being a person of integrity and not spreading half-truths, uninformed information about someone.
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
“YOU SHALL NOT COVET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S WIFE, . . .”
¨ The tenth commandment is focused primarily with motivation rather than with act.
¨ Unlike the other commandments, which focused on act instead of motivation, where disobedience of those regulations required legal action, how could the breach of this commandment be known and enforced?
¨ This tenth and final commandment should be interpreted simply as a prohibition of desire or coveting, without there being any suggestion of an act.
¨ This commandment provides a summary of the spirit of the commandments 6-9.
¨ In commandments 6-9, the normal motivation involved, which would lead to the transgression, would be self-interest.
¨ Self-interest, or selfishness, may be a dangerous thing when it assumes a dominant role in a person’s life.
¨ The nature of the covenant community required that there be two primary foci for a man’s life—the God of the covenant and the fellow members of the covenant community of God.
¨ Thus all the last five commandments prohibit a wrong attitude to neighbors; commandments 6-9 prohibit wrong acts toward them and commandment 10 is comprehensive in prohibiting desire leading to any such act.
¨ For the desire leads to the act and it betrays the same wrong attitude toward a neighbor.
¨ The member of the family of God is once again cast back on the grace of the Lawgiver, but this in turn stresses the true spirit of the commandment: you shall love the Lord your God . . . And then, from the relationship of love, the commandment remains, but in a different light.
¨ The neighbor’s world is not one to be coveted, but the neighbor is to be loved as a fellow member of the family of God.
¨ APPLICATION—Ask God to “search you and know your heart” and to see if there is anything that dishonors Him. Is there lust in your heart for your neighbor’s wife? Repent and ask God to forgive you. Are you never content? Be content in what God has given you
Information from The Book of Deuteronomy, written by Peter C. Craigie
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), pages 149-164.