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Malicious Witnesses

Our culture finds truth boring.  Dysfunction is sensationalized.  Controversy brings ratings.  Our favorite callers to the radio talk shows are the most critical ones.  No one is very concerned with how their statements may fair in the family of their neighbor.  We fan the flames of exaggeration, criticism, and slander with little thought that the coach or the politician we loathe has children, a mother, and may or may not (any longer) have friends.  We are malicious witnesses.
The covenant community of God relied heavily on truth.  The penalty for perjury in a court of law was severe. [1]  The question of the culture and courts was not what was more believable, or even what was more entertaining, but rather what was true?  After all, these same people who tell stories about one another are also responsible to tell the story of God.  If they “bear false witness” against their neighbor, their fellow countryman, some kid’s dad, can they be trusted to witness before others about God?
Commandment nine means that people who call in everyday to criticize their coach, or who gather at the company cooler to share a seedy story about a “friend”, or who exaggerate facts to make them more entertaining are menaces to society.  They are malicious witnesses.  Those of us who crave their evil are even worse.  Perjury at the cooler or in the courtroom is one and the same.  We are deceived to believe that our statements are not connected.  We will cuss the coach on Saturday night and sing a hymn in church on Sunday morning.  Many would claim that stadiums and churches are different venues of conversation.  With commandment nine God says they are not.  Commandment nine means because of what we said about our coach, we have lost credibility for what we would say or sing about God.
Commandment nine encourages us to have an appetite for truth.  People have a right to define their own reputation.  Commandment three demands that you be careful with the name of God.  Commandment nine demands that you be equally as careful with the name of your coach, your child’s teacher, the man across the street, and the woman you work with.  Do not be a malicious witness. 


[1] John I. Durham, Exodus, World Biblical Commentary, 296.
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Carried Away

We are accustomed to homes and businesses outfitted with motion sensors, locks, and surveillance cameras.  But in a nomadic, desert culture it is tough to lock the tent.  There is no real security where there is no trust.  With the eighth commandment God taught His people that they should respect one another’s property by not stealing it, or literally translated, carrying it away.  Just in case anyone felt the urge to steal, commandment eight reminded them that God was watching.
Cameras, locks, and alarms are not only a testimony that we no longer trust one another, but it is evidence that as a culture we have lost the sense of the watchful eye of a holy God.  He is not pleased when we steal.  Because we have exiled God from the public forum, security is big business.  When we do not trust one another we all pay the price.  The products we buy carry a security markup because they stand a good chance of being carried away. 
Without a return to the core values of morality based in the authority of God, we will continue to lose a sense of social trust.  Every generation raised without God consciousness becomes more covetous, selfish, and even savvier version of the thief.  The cost of security is on the rise.  Whether it is the old fashioned smash and grab or the high tech stealth of identity theft, the problem is not that we are losing stuff and money.  We have lost our souls.  The cameras in the corner stand as evidence against us.  Our souls have been carried away, we are no longer trustworthy.
God created the world and He gave man the right to borrow and use bits and pieces of it for life.  We should be able to do so without zipping the tent.  God gave us a fundamental right to property, and in doing so a reason to trust our neighbor.  But God is gone and we are carried away.
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No Adultery

Marriage, in America, is nearing its last breath.  When marriage is not revered and protected as a vital institution of society it will be disregarded, redefined, and in time will become meaningless.  Marriage is a commentary on culture.  The state of marriage is a statement about the moral climate of a nation.  Sexual behavior is either tied to sacred trust or it becomes the perversion of imagination.  We are seeing this story unfold daily.  Striking down proposition 8 and recognizing gay and lesbian union as marriage is but the final act of taking something holy and profaning it.  This slow erosion of marriage has not been on the agenda only recently, it has been there, globally, for centuries.  America is a relative newcomer to the stage.  So how did we get here?
We failed to recognize the origination of marriage.  Marriage was not born in a courtroom, but in a garden.  It was Biblical before it was legal.  God created the world.  God also took man and woman and created marriage.  If you read the original transcripts (Gen. 2:18-25), marriage, from the beginning, was to be a covenant commitment between a man and a woman for life.  The moment sin entered the picture (Gen. 3), that ideal and definition of marriage was under attack (Gen. 3:12).
Adultery is a fundamental attack on marriage.  A culture that is not serious about preventing adultery is doomed to an immoral slippery slope.  There are alternatives to marriage.  There are other men and other women.  Focus less on commitment and more on what we really want, sex.  When marriage is no longer the ideal, love is not measured by trust but by sex.  You don’t have to commit to not leaving the one you love; you just need to have sex with the one you’re with.  When you fall in and out of love, change partners.  But who needs love?  It’s complicated.  Why not just have sex for the sake of pleasure?  Sex is entertaining.  When sex is measured by pleasure it becomes commercialized.  Sex is big business.  The predominant plot of American television is the predominant plot of ancient pagan culture, what would you do for sex?  We are not entertained by characters who are celibate, monogamous, or married for 50 years.  We want to know who and how many can be sacked in 50 minutes, preferably without commercial interruption. 
What’s next?  Marriage doesn’t work.  Divorce is epidemic.  Why marry?  When marriage is no longer recognized as God ordained there is only one appropriate term to describe its origination.  Exchange the term “Biblical” for “traditional.”  Traditional marriage is an archaic societal institution that no longer fits the trends of an emerging culture.  Redefine it to fit the current trends in sex.  People can have sex but not be married.  Reward them.  Allow them to live together in an arrangement that has as much cultural validity as a traditionally married man and woman.  Yet even the idea as marriage being defined as man and woman is passé, old school, traditional.  If marriage is merely a legal arrangement, then the courtroom is the logical place to redefine it.  The tradition of marriage is man and woman, but that is way too discriminatory for post-modern “non-traditional” men and women. 
So here we are reaping what we have sown.  God required only two words in Hebrew to write a law that would safeguard marriage, NO ADULTERY.  The genius of the Ten Commandments is not only in what it forbids, but in what it promotes.  It promotes devotion to a true and righteous God who has a heart for people.  It promotes an honest work ethic that does not mistreat the laborer.  It promotes life.  It promotes wealth. It promotes truth. It promotes happiness.  It promotes family.  It promotes marriage!  A society that values the original blueprint for covenant union between male and female will promote and protect marriage.  For Israel, The Ten Commandments were the basis of theocratic law.  They were the backbone, the foundation for every other law.  Other, more specific laws would need to be written.  How does “Do not kill” play out in everyday life?  Use that saying as the basis of more specific laws that address issues of manslaughter, premeditated murder, and even the killing of the unborn.  The Jews took these ten words or commandments and built a law code from them.  America once did the same.  Now imagine living in a society that promoted and protected covenant marriage between a man and a woman.  It would make a strong statement about what we did with sex.  It would define morality and social conscience.  Adultery would no longer be entertaining.  It would be a threat to the ideal.
Because adultery is such a commentary on the soul, God used it to describe how Israel related to Him.  Idolatry was adultery.  Sin was described as adultery.  Adultery is not about the moment a man cheats on his wife.  Adultery is about how we get to the place where we think breaking a covenant and having sex with someone else is the right thing to do.  Commandment seven is not about what we do, it is about how we get there.  Furthermore, because adultery is included in the commandments we should not fail to recognize that what we have done with marriage is not an issue for the courts; it is our issue with God.  A nation that fails to protect marriage and promotes adultery has lost its soul.  It does not know from whence it came.  It has no idea where it is going.  Once marriage is legally dead, there will be no end to the evil of our sexual imaginations. 
We once thought a man having sex with a man was vile; now, not so much.  We still think sex between a man and a child is vile.  Will we still think so tomorrow?  In case you should wonder, I implore you to read the article “Endorsement of Child-Sex Sex on the Rise” by Robert Stacy McCain of the Washington Times or a study recently published by NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) entitled, “Gay-Affirming Psychologists Propose Redefining Child Sexual Abuse.”  We have legally redefined marriage.  Next we will redefine the terms pedophile, abuse, and child molestation. 
We have lost our soul in the journey toward and past adultery.  We need to return to being a people that not only protects, but promotes covenant marriage between a man and a woman.  Adultery is not a single act, but a journey in immorality.  God gave us a simple command to not only protect marriage, but morality.  No Adultery.
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Claiming Life

Commandment six is brief and to the point.  In its most familiar form for those reading this blog, the English rendering, “You shall not kill”, appears somewhat vague and begs for clarification.  I shouldn’t kill what?  Does this commandment forbid only the killing of humans or does it extend also to killing animals?  I killed a roach last night.  Was that a sin?  My wife has never sinned by killing a roach simply because she refuses to get close enough to kill one.  I am husband, father, pastor, roach killer. 
Not only does the brevity of the commandment engender questions, but it seems to be a glaring contradiction in the context of Scripture.  If God says not to kill in Exodus 20:13 then how can He justify His command for the Joshua genocides and the constant call for enforcement of capital punishment throughout the Old Testament (Gen. 9:6, Ex. 21:12).  God calls for capital punishment in cases of adultery (Lev. 20:10) and rape (Deut 22:23-27).  The list of capital offenses also includes false prophets, distorted offerings, witchcraft, and even rebellious kids (Exo. 21:15, 17).  In our society most of what you see on primetime television would warrant capital punishment.  Furthermore, when a child hits or curses his parents we are more prone to think of family counseling, not necessarily the electric chair.  Comparatively speaking, it seems that God is more for killing than we are.  How then can we reconcile commandment six with the bulk of the often bloody Old Testament?
One question often overlooked with commandment six is what does the word “kill” mean?  The ESV translates the word “murder.”  The Hebrew word is a term used to refer primarily to the intentional taking of a life out of revenge.  It is a word that covers the taking of a life unjustly whether it be intentionally (what we generally equate to murder) or unintentionally (what we generally refer to as involuntary manslaughter).  When the Bible speaks of capital punishment, war, or national conquest it does not use the same Hebrew term we often translate kill/murder in commandment six.
So what are the implications?  The basic meaning of commandment six is that God has ultimate claim over human life.  We have no right to claim, of our own volition, human life.  It is not the duty of the medical profession to determine who lives and who dies.  A person does not have the right to claim their own life.  No one has the right to abort a baby.  No one has the right to claim a life out of vengeance.  Commandment six means we should be careful not to be careless when we drive a car.  We should drive in such a way that reflects ultimate care for others.  We should not go through life haphazardly so that our carelessness results in claiming the life of another.  God alone lays claim to human life.  He has ordained human government to exact justice through capital punishment.  He has also given warrant for national governments to assemble militaries capable of not only defending civilian life but also destroying tyranny around the world. 
Commandment six sends a strong message.  We are created in the image of God.  He claims our lives.  We do not have the right to claim our own life, nor the lives of others.  We should not only treasure human life, but make every effort to protect it.
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Be Heavy on Family

The first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me”, serves as the spine for the next three (it holds it all together).  If God is your god your house will be clean of idols, you will take His name seriously, and you will do what He did by taking a Sabbath.  Most scholars refer to these first four commandments as book or tablet 1.  Book, or tablet 2, begins with the family.  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”  Like commandment 1, commandment 5 serves as a spine for what is to follow.  Rightly relating to God requires uncontested allegiance.  Rightly relating to other people begins at home.

The word translated “honor” is a word commonly translated “heavy.”  If we want stability in our society we must be heavy on the family.  To honor one's father and mother is to value or glorify their place in society above all else.  In the fifth commandment, community is connected to family, “that your days may be long in the land.”  When the family unit is lost, one can calculate the inevitable fate of the community, “it will not be long.”  A common symptom for at risk communities is a lack of honorable men and women who are devoted to being fathers and mothers; there is a lack of emphasis on the importance of family.  Where the family unit is on the decrease immorality, crime, and chaos will be on the increase (murder, adultery, theft, lies, and social discontent).    
Educators, law enforcement, churches, and community centers may benefit a community, but they cannot compensate for what is lost when society is no longer heavy on family.  How many times have you heard a teacher or a coach say, “This child gets no support at home?”  Lawful, respectful children are not raised on the streets, they are raised by honorable fathers.  Stable marriages begin with stable childhoods.  Contentment and consistency are kindred spirits. 
God is heavy on family.  He teaches us about Himself by relating to us as Father.  He teaches us the gospel by pointing to the marriage.  Ultimate sacrifice becomes apparent through the giving of the Son.  Family is not only the fabric of society, it is the metaphor for salvation.  When people no longer trust in family, they find it difficult to trust in God.
The message of the fifth commandment is simple, go heavy on family.  Emphasize it, honor it, teach it, and protect it.  Healthy communities are built on honorable families.  Social reform begins with the recovery of the family.  The key to a long lasting legacy and community is to go heavy on family.
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Permission to Be Done

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 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.  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.”  Exodus 20:8-11
The fourth commandment is the divine right to be done.  It is no accident that the commandment to be done is the longest.  We have a hard time stopping.  The concepts “finished”, “accomplished”, and “completed” are mirages in the dessert, carrots on a string, ox goads.  It is the subtle temptation that you can do something more so that you can finally do something less, or eventually do nothing at all.  The reality is that nothing ever is finished, accomplished, or completed.  There is always something else.  Tomorrow happens every 24 hours.
Could it possibly be true that you can get more done by working less?  Almost every study on productivity, health, and the benefits of rest suggest that this is true.  Although nothing is ever finished, would a man work better in six days if he knew that on the seventh he had permission to be done?  If he had an opportunity to step away and do something else for just a day, would it be true that when he returned to work that he could actually do more than before?  Yes, yes, and yes.  There is abundant proof that when we step away we return stronger, more energetic, and creative.  We all need something to look forward to.  Before the modern epidemic of antibiotics the doc used to give some sage advice for prompt healing – “Get some rest!”  We may not be well acquainted with the benefits of rest, but we know burnout on a first name basis.
For Israel, a slave nation under Egypt, commandment four was permission to be done.  It was a sort of weekly Independence Day.  It was a celebration of their redemption, and a reminder never to return to slavery.  They had God’s permission to always be ex-slaves.  To keep them free God told them to do four things with the Sabbath.  1)  Remember it = Put it on the calendar, in the Blackberry, on the schedule!  2)  Keep it holy = Actually do it, protect it, prioritize it, and dare anybody to take it away from you.  The “holy” part means once you have taken care to take the day, give it back to God.  He gave it to you.  Give it back to Him.  3)  Preserve it for others.  The biggest temptation for ex-slaves is to own slaves.  Don’t be a hypocrite by getting others to work for you while you rest.  Do not enslave your family, or your employees, or your livestock, or a stranger.  The Sabbath is not for hire!  4)  Do what God did, be done.  God did not take a Sabbath from creation because He was tired.  God took a Sabbath because He was done.  Be done! 
There will always be Mondays.  You could handle them better if you knew that at some point in the near future you had something to look forward to.  You and I have the God given right, every week, to be done.[i]


[i] Yes, I know that “THE Sabbath” is Sunday.  For my opinions on this matter refer to:  http://www.feelmyfaith.com/2009/11/sports-on-sunday.html, http://www.feelmyfaith.com/2010/05/q-and-with-jesus-sermon-audio-sunday-am.html.  I also did a Wed. night teaching entitled, “What Should We Do With Sunday.”  The audio is somewhere in the abyss of my desk.  I am searching for it and hope to post it soon. 
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Doing Nothing In God's Name

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 (Exodus 20:7).
For most of my life I thought that commandment three was a message to Hollywood, NASCAR, and frustrated rednecks everywhere who could not refrain from calling down the damnation of God with every other word.  Every child raised in the religious south knows that taking the Lord’s name in vain is usually followed by getting your mouth washed out with soap.  You should not say “Oh Lord” or “My God” or “God D***” unless you are praying for rain or preaching against the lottery.  All other uses of the name of God are just plain old cussing; taking the Lord’s name in vain.
While men driving Chevrolets should not cuss God, they are not the primary concern of commandment three.  The original language literally reads that one should not “lift up” the name of the LORD to “emptiness.”  It means to connect His name with nothingness, emptiness or to make the mistake of saying He is a part of something when He is not.  The people who stood in immediate danger of doing so were not the pagans of Hollywood, NASCAR, or the deep South, but those who were entrusted and permitted to handle the sacred name of God.  The name of God was not given to Hollywood, it was given to Israel.  Commandment three is directed toward the "your God" crowd not the "oh God" or "God D***" crowd.  Those of the "your God" crowd needed to be most careful with the name of God.  It was theirs to use.  The name of God was not merely His title, it was Him.  His name was His power, His character, His being, His worth, His glory.  He is His name.  You could not say His name without saying something to, for, or about Him.
God gifted Israel with His name.  He gave it to them to use.  It is like walking into a Ford dealership and saying, “Henry sent me.”  I am here for the Creator.  He allowed them to use it to make oaths, call down His power, prophecy, and worship.  Knowing the name of God was a miracle of divine revelation.  Using the name of God was a divine right and privilege.  His name spoke of His faithfulness to His covenant.  Jesus taught us to pray in His name in assurance that God hears and answers prayer.  His name should be protected, cherished, and honored.  It should be used in sacred care.  Anything else is vain.
NASCAR drivers, movie stars, and rednecks may cuss, but it is the professing Christian, the church goer, who stands in grave danger of taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Taking the name of the LORD in vain means to say it and use it as if it means nothing.  It is to do something meaningless and empty and claim that God endorsed it.  People lift the name of the Lord to emptiness when they sing, pray, preach, or give mechanically, with no thought or reverence of the living God.  Lifting the Lord’s name to nothing is to listen to a sermon on Sunday and act as if God does not exist on any other day.  Taking the Lord’s name in vain is to own a Bible, never read it, but claim that you love the Lord and believe “the Word.”  Lifting the Lord’s name to emptiness is to say you are born again but you never change.  It is to be content with shallow faith.  To take the name of the LORD in vain is to say that you have met Him but live as if nothing ever happened.  It is to say that you love Him and do nothing to serve Him.  It is to use His name to justify the ridiculous.  It is to say the LORD is “in” something when it has nothing to do with Him and more to do with you, your fear, your preference, or your own self worth.  To do something for you and say it is for Him is to cuss God.  The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
To know the name of God is a sacred honor.  Those who name Him should live as if they have met Him.  Their prayers should be laced with His power, their walk influenced by His faithfulness, their sufferings mindful of His glory.  Those who know God cherish His name.  His name is sacred.  It is powerful.  It is meaningful.  They do what they do in God’s name.  Those who take the name of the LORD in vain are content with emptiness and truly believe they have God's endorsement to be vain.  Do not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
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Faceless

“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. 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, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)

Worship demands an object. Faith must have a focus. Prayer needs an address. Worship what? Faith in what? Pray to whom? You’ve got to have something. We are sensory creatures. We are uncomfortable with invisible.

We use images and idols to ease our discontent with intangible. We try to package what we can’t understand. Shapes and colors not only make things tangible, but controllable, and explainable. And it is here that things can go horribly wrong. Fabricated gods are limited to the creator’s design and intellect. Statues are the imagination in concrete. In the Roman and Greek pantheons the gods were magnifications of human infidelity. They were the filthy fantasies of men. The God of Israel will have no part of this. If He is different than the rest, He cannot be subject to the design of mortals.

Israel would struggle with this idea. Worshipping a real God without a packaged presentation was unprecedented. Egyptian gods have faces. The God of Israel was to be first (20:3) and faceless (20:4-6). The God of Israel has no image. It would be difficult for them to bridle their imaginations and let God define Himself.

When it comes to God, if we get it wrong, it can go very wrong for a very long time. Whether material or mental, false representations of God are dangerous. The error of one generation becomes the truth of the next. Be very careful. God is aggressive about defining Himself and will not hold guiltless those who do not heed His command. For those who come to Him as He is, who desire Him as Himself, free of any human corruption or imagination, they will set a precedent that will be a blessing for generations to come. The true God is as aggressive to bless as He is to remain imageless.

Do not create anything and call it God. It will be full of you and none of Him. Accept no substitutes. Don’t sell out to lies. He has a right to define Himself. He can be known as He is. We have an opportunity to worship the real thing.  Commandment two is freedom from what is fake.  It is an invitation to authenticity.
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Who is First?

If you do not believe that human life is special, then explain why so many things compete for our attention.  Nothing competes for the affection of slugs.  Slugs are slugs.  Nothing desires to be the sovereign of the slug soul, but so many things desire to be sovereign over us.  The gods manifest themselves with icons and acts.  They are money and sex without commitment or consequence.  They are addiction and gluttony.  They are the exaltation of self, pride and hubris.  They rape and pillage and leave the soul unsatisfied, lonely and dark.  Alla and wica, buddha or a star, nature or nothing, all of them exist, whether in mind or matter, it makes no difference.  We think of them, they compete for us, therefore they are.  They are gods.
It is interesting to note that the first commandment does not declare there are no other gods, but rather that none of them should be before the God who has delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 20:2).[i]  Because He is savior He has the right to be sovereign.  You decide who wins.  How ironic.  Commandment one is not only an invitation to exclusivity, but conversion.  When He is first, life is different.  This God uses a word to designate this difference.  It means something is exclusively His.  It is the word “holy.”  If we surrender sovereignty to Him, the following nine commandments are not just demands, but demonstrations of holiness.
God is not only saying that He has an exclusive right to us, but that we have an exhaustive right to Him.  He LORDS over all of us.  We enjoy all of Him.  After all, the commandment is about which gods “You shall have.” 
Which one will you have?  Consult the preface (v. 2).  There is only one saving God.  The rest are taxing, exhausting, consuming, defeating, unrelenting, and unsatisfying.  There is only one God who has introduced Himself by giving life rather than taking it, saving it rather than destroying it.  It is difficult to please all the other gods.  This one is already pleased, in Himself.  He doesn’t need you so that he may finally find pleasure.  He is already a happy God.[ii]  The first commandment is primary not because He needs more of us, but because we need more of Him.  We need a satisfied God to be sovereign of our unsatisfied souls. 
If you are not holy and satisfied, He is not first.  Who is first?


[i] Peter Enns, The Application Commentary, Exodus (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2000), 414.
[ii] See John Piper’s The Pleasures of God.
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The First Move

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”  (Exodus 20:2)
The first move has always been His.  He created the universe.  After the fall, God went to Adam.  Adam hid from God.  People are not seekers by nature.  No one seeks for God (Romans 3:11b).  He has always made the first move.  We respond.
Before God reveals His commandments, He reminds Israel of His character.  Their relationship with Him has meant a great deal to them.  He is their salvation.  Following His commandments can only result in their good.  David believed this and wrote in Psalm 119:6, “Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.”
With Israel, God made the first move.  It was a move to save them.  The precedent is clearly set.  If there is any suspicion or doubt that following God’s commandments is not a good thing, note the precedent.  He made the first move.  His commandments not only restrict; they also save.  Sexual purity saves marriages.  Loving life saves people.  Devoting yourself to the one true God saves the soul.  Sabbath rest saves the body.  Honoring parents saves society.  Contentment saves the wallet.  Respect saves reputations. 
His first move was to save.  We should listen to what He has to say.
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A Million Ways to Live Ten Words

The commandments of God reveal the character of God.  He is aggressively good.  Psalm 119:1 says, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!”  The ten commandments of Exodus 20 are the law of God on the atomic level.  Literally they are not the commandments, but the “words.”  Words have a variety of meanings and uses.  When it comes to the commandments of God, each one of them can be applied in a million different ways.  Life is circumstantial.  There are a hundred different ways to kill, even more ways to steal, and there are several different color shades of lying.  The books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy outline that when it comes to killing we should not do it accidentally, innocently, or intentionally.  White or black, there is no good reason to lie.  If you steal and get away with it, it is still wrong.  The law of God is the Ten Commandments or ten “words” expressed in morality, society, family, and religion.  The law is the words being lived out in every place from the dinner table to the Senate seat, in secret and in private, in the rich and the poor, in buying bread or having babies.  The law is applicable to every facet of circumstantial life.
The Psalmist says that those who walk in the law of the LORD are happy, or blessed.  This means that for men and women who find a million ways to live the ten words, there will be joy, fulfillment, and delight.  God says not to kill – one word.  Find a million reasons why God loves life.  God says that we should have no other Gods before Him – one word.  Find a million reasons why nothing else compares to Him.  God says that we should not lie – one word.  Find a million conversations that need to hear the truth.  Our world is so full of cursing; it is in desperate need of blessing. 
God gave us ten simple statements that tell us what He is like.  He is aggressive for our lives to connect with His character.  He is happy in who He is. He is blessed and wants our circumstances to be filled with His blessings.  To walk in the law of the LORD is to find a million ways to live ten words.  It is to spend twenty four hours finding out why God is so happy with honorable families, truth, life, and devoted worship.  Walking in the law of the LORD is learning to love Him. 
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The Commandments and Character of God

Commandments are not just prohibitions, they are also permissions.  They are restrictive and affirming.  You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).  The restriction is from taking human life.  The affirmation is that man has the right to live.  Do not kill.  Live.  Human life is unique and should be respected. 
The commandments reveal the character of God.  In telling us what we should not do, He reveals to us what He is like.  He is not like the other gods.  Other gods demand that you sacrifice your babies.  The God of Israel and Creation loves your child.  He loves it when men and women fall in love, devote themselves to one another in marriage, and remain faithful.  He protects His name and He has also taken care to protect yours.  People should not take His name in vain and they should not tell lies about you.
The commandments of God reveal that He is good.  Because He is good, He is not passive.  He is aggressive to protect His name, His glory, human life, property, and reputation.  He will not hold guiltless those who break His commandments.  Good people do not allow others to be victimized.  They are serious about standing for what is right.  Being tolerant and passive is not necessarily good.  There are lives, reputations, properties, and marriages that will be victimized if people are not aggressively and decisively good. The fact that God so severely punishes sin does not say that He is cantankerous, moody, or arrogant; it says only that He is decisively good.
When you read the commandments of God you will see clearly what you and I “should not.”  Yet, do not miss in the commandments what God is.  His commandments reveal His character.  He has expressed Himself in what He restricts and permits; in what He prohibits and affirms.  He is not like the other gods.  He is unique.  He has a name like no other name.  He is self existent.  He is Holy.  He is passionate about the family.  He loves human life.  He desires for your marriage to be wonderful, full of love and trust.  He cares about your stuff.  He cares about your name.  He will supply your needs.  He is good.
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