No, this isn’t about football, although your girl here is a fan of her college team, which happens to be in the Big Ten…which has fourteen colleges in it. Strange math, if you ask me! But it lays the foundation for today’s devotional, which starts with the premise that God created a big ten of his own, to which Jesus effectively added an expansion that enhances, but does not eliminate, the original. I am talking, of course, about the Ten Commandments.
Some people have the mistaken idea that Jesus came to eradicate the original ten. They are wrong. While Jesus spoke against the minutiae of the many laws that were extra add-ons made by the rabbis of the day, the sanctity of the original ten remains paramount to this day.
Exodus 20 (Contemporary English Version)
God said to the people of Israel:
2 I am the Lord your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.
3 Do not worship any god except me.
4 Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. 5 Don’t bow down and worship idols. I am the Lord your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. 6 But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.
7 Do not misuse my name. I am the Lord your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name.
8 Remember that the Sabbath Day belongs to me. 9 You have six days when you can do your work, 10 but the seventh day of each week belongs to me, your God. No one is to work on that day—not you, your children, your slaves, your animals, or the foreigners who live in your towns. 11 In six days I made the sky, the earth, the oceans, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That’s why I made the Sabbath a special day that belongs to me.
12 Respect your father and your mother, and you will live a long time in the land I am giving you.
13 Do not murder.
14 Be faithful in marriage.
15 Do not steal.
16 Do not tell lies about others.
17 Do not want anything that belongs to someone else. Don’t want anyone’s house, wife or husband, slaves, oxen, donkeys or anything else.
Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? In Matthew, Jesus states that he has not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Then he says this:
John 13:34 (Common English Bible)
34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other.”
Think for a moment what the world would be like if we obeyed everything on this list. Think for a moment how different things would be if we just obeyed the new commandment given by Jesus. Wouldn’t the rest of the ten simply fall into place?
Imagine how changed your conversations would be with your family if all of the world lived under these commandments. What would your office “water cooler” conversations sound like? Not being able to lie or covet would certainly change the neighborhood. Sundays would be reverent again. Marriages would stay intact, or die trying. False idols would be forbidden and not tolerated, let alone revered. Our reverence for God would increase, as would our witness in the world. If we loved each other the way Jesus loves us, harmony would reign.
As you continue along on your Lent journey, take a look at this passage again and see how you measure up. God’s Big Ten (plus) still speak to us today. Where is God calling you to obey?