Moses - The Law of God; Exodus 20
You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor—v. 17.
Coveting is a disease ever-present in the soul of humanity. The command forbidding it is, in fact, inextricably linked to the second commandment, because coveting implies we have elevated something or someone over God in our lives. Of course, we recognize it as inappropriate for a Christian, but the truth is we all have struggled with this command. This is why Paul addressed it in his letters to the Christians in Ephesians, Colosse and Romans.
You shall not commit adultery—v. 14.
This command is for both men and women, and prohibits sexual intercourse of a married person with the spouse of another. This is meant to protect not only a couple's dearest relationship, but the sacredness of marriage. Adultery in the Old Testament was punishable by death for both offenders (Lev. 20:20).
Exodus 20:1—And God spoke all these words: 2] "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
David Guzik's Exodus commentary makes some of the following observations:
"As an introduction to the Law, God introduces Himself and reminds the Israelites once again what He has done—v. 2. It is because of who God is, and because of what He has done for us, He has the right to tell us what to do—and we have the obligation to obey Him. It's also important to draw the connection that the following Laws were not "invented" here at Mount Sinai.
18] When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19] and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."
20] Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."
21] The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
R. Kent Hughes has said, "...like a floral bouquet, [the Ten Commandments'] maximum effect comes when they are held together, and empowered by the power and love of God."
Consider the first four again and notice that the Ten Commandments are very significantly arranged.
God alone is to be recognized as God (Ex. 20:2-3). This doesn't mean we can have other gods as long as our God is first; "just keep Him on the top of the list." No way; this is exclusive! The words "before Me" mean "besides Me," or "in the presence of Me." So there are to be no other gods but our God—Deut. 8:11,17,19; 6:5,13,17; 10:12,20.
In our study of Old Testament characters, we discovered how Israel struggled with this in its history. David Guzik's Commentary for Exodus points out, "...great was the temptation to worship the gods of materialism (Baal, the god of weather and financial success) and sex (Ashtoreth, the goddess of sex, romance, and reproduction), or any number of other local deities."
- To reveal God's glory and holiness—Deut. 5:22-28
- To reveal man's sinfulness—Rom. 7:7,13; I Tim. 1:9ff; James 1:22-25. If we hold the law up to our life, like a mirror it reflects God’s glory, holiness and character, and reveals our sinfulness and need for a Savior.
- To mark Israel as God's chosen people, and to separate them from the heathen Gentile nations—Ps. 147:19-20; Eph. 2:11-17; Acts 15
- To give Israel a standard for godly living that they might inherit the land and enjoy its blessings—Deut. 4:1ff; 5:29ff; Judges 2:19-21
- To prepare Israel for the coming of Christ—Gal. 3:24.
- To illustrate in type and ceremony the Person and work of Christ—Heb. 10:1
I wrote the following song to summarize what we studied in our last session on the life of Moses and the Ten Commandments. It is entitled: "On Eagles' Wings."
"I'll lift you up on eagles' wings. I'll carry you home. In your trials, I'll be with you and guide you through the storm. Remember My deliverance; I brought you here to be a kingdom priest, holy nation, a treasure for Me. You'll bring me to the place You planned, a promised land for me. If I'll obey Your commands, You'll keep me free."
These words are inspired by Exodus 19, as well as Israel's journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Let me highlight Exodus 19 and review what we have covered in our studies together.
- Solomon: How the Mighty Have Fallen
- Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself
- Timothy: A Minister in the Making
- Daniel: Another Look at the Lions' Den
- Judas: A Person God Could Not Use
- Paul: Becoming a Basket Case
- Nebuchadnezzar: Grass-Eating 101
- Cain, Abel, Eve and God
- The Book of Jonah
- Jacob: Made Weak to Win
- Moses—The Law of God