Moses begins reviewing the Law with the Ten Commandments. These are the foundation for all the rest that was given.
We have come to the brink of the Promised Land with the new generation. God wants to be certain they hear ALL He has given them. After Moses finishes going over the entirety of the law with them they will never be able to say, “We didn’t know.”
Moses says something interesting here. “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today” (verses 2-3). Many of those hearing this message were not born at the time God spoke to the people at Horeb so he isn’t referring to being physically present at that moment in time. What he is saying instead is that this covenant is personal and pertinent to each person present at the moment he is speaking. God’s covenant didn’t end with the previous generation. It continues on and is just as strong as when it was first spoken by Him.
The original people’s response to physically hearing God speak pleased Him but it didn’t keep them from going astray. God doesn’t feel the need to be so demonstrative in His presence with this second generation. Many of them had spent their whole lives eating from His table in the form of manna. They had daily reminders of who He is. They also had the reminders of how their parents treated Him. They did NOT want to repeat those mistakes.
God started with the basics again. He had Moses repeat His first commandments to the people. These were not suggestions about how to win friends and influence people. They were His firm standards for His people.
The first and most vital part was their relationship with God. The first four deal directly with this relationship. If these ones are missing from your heart you have no hope of holding the remaining six there. God wants our whole heart and His first four focus on that.
Recognition that He is the ONLY God you can have in your life is key. Giving Him His place as supreme ruler of your heart is a must. He is unlike any other god in that He wants no physical representation that you can focus your devotion on. He is bigger than any form could hold. His name is also above everything else. For His name speaks of His nature. I Am; Elohim; Adonai; Yahweh; Jehovah. ALL of these speak of One who is greater than all the universe. He is the beginning and the end. Creator of all that is. And He asks for ONE day each week to recognize and remember that fact. If you are unwilling to give Him even these simple concessions how can you expect Him to bless your life?
“I’m the ONLY TRUE LIVING God. Stop searching for something better. There isn’t one.”
“Don’t try and put Me in your man-made boxes. I don’t fit and I WON’T share.”
“Respect My name and use it appropriately.”
“Give Me ONE day each week as a ‘Thank You’ and as a reminder to yourselves of My place above all else.”
After we get these four principal pieces established in our hearts, then we can move on to our fellow men. God starts with the family first.
“Honor your mother and father. It will go well with you if you do.”
God doesn’t say here to honor them if they deserve it. They are your parents and they will make mistakes like everyone else but they are to occupy a place of honor in your heart and mind. You do not have to like or even agree with everything they do but you are still to show them respect. Be respectful regardless.
God moves on to the most basic behavior we should show to every other living person.
“Don’t have sexual relationships with another person’s wife or husband.”
“Don’t take what is not yours.”
“Don’t lie about your neighbors.”
Most of the time lies are meant to make you look better than you are or to make someone else look worse. Let the truth be seen in action and there will be no need or use for lies. They only get you into trouble anyway. If not with others at least within your own heart.
“Don’t get so wound up in what your neighbor has that you crave it for your own.”
If you stop and think about it, coveting and adultery both tie into the commandment about stealing. Taking what isn’t yours begins with desiring something someone else has. “He has such a great _____. Why can’t I have one like that? I deserve it more than he does!” Sometimes these two can even lead us to murder.
Instead, be willing to work for what you need and want. God told us that He gave us six days each week to work. It is up to you how you use them. Respect others for their own hard work. Keep your eyes on your own journey and leave God to worry about where He is taking your neighbor.
ALL of these foundational pieces are still to be carried out in our lives. Without them we have nothing to build upon. They are still His commandments. They are not what saves us but they are ESSENTIAL for a growing relationship with Him. And we will STILL mess up in these areas, just like Israel did when God gave them to them the first time. We need as many reminders as that second generation did.
Father God, thank You for Your reminders. I know I’ve failed in some of these over my lifetime. I know I’ve said that before. Thank You for forgiving me when I do fail. Thank You also for letting me put Your words into my own simple words. I’m not trying to take away from Your meaning and intent. I’m just trying to get it right down to where I live.
The group You were getting ready to take into the Promised Land needed these reminders and refreshers before they stepped into what was next. Like putting on their armor before battle and getting centered on the truth. Recenter me too Lord. Let me take in the importance of Your commandments again. Root them so deeply in my spirit that NOTHING can pull them out. My foundational stones.