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Exodus 20 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother,that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
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.”
18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
- Read this passage then slowly evaluate my life according to the Ten Commandments.
- Before God commanded anything of man, He declared who He is and what He did for Israel. It’s important to understand that grace precedes law. God first acts in grace and mercy by delivering the people, and then the people respond in gratitude and thanksgiving by the obeying the commandments. The crossing of the Red Sea comes before the giving of the Ten Commandments.
- The first four commands are for keeping our relationship with God intact: no worship of other gods, no idolatry, no abuse of God’s holy name, and no abuse of God’s holy Sabbath.
- The last six commands are for keeping our relationships in the world in which we live intact: honoring parents, honoring others’ lives, honoring marriage, honoring others’ possessions, honoring the truth, and honoring what God gives others to live with and what He gives us to live with.
- Although the commandments are, with the exception of the fifth, all prohibitive, they are not negative. They speak about love: love of God and love of others. Jesus once was asked by a lawyer among the Pharisees: which is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied: Loving God and your neighbor (Matt 22:37-40).
- Spend some time read this passage carefully and meditatively. If you could, use one word or a term to describe each commandment and reflect on its meaning. Thank God for His love in giving us these commands.
- Ask the Holy Spirit’s help to examine your own life, where you have failed, or in which area you are facing crisis right now. Pray to confess and receive forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and ask for a renewed spirit and abundant power in living out a life of holiness and love.