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Laws for a Holy Nation
Israel’s religion was a revealed religion.
It was not adopted from surrounding nations but stood in sharp contrast to the religious standards and practices of the heathen nations of that period.
Samuel J. Schultz and Gary V. Smith, Exploring the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 34.
The Mosaic Covenant
God, who is the only God, must always come first Living a Full Life: A Pictorial Interpretation of the Ten Commandments (Orion: Halfway House, 1995))
This commandment concerns the position God should be given in the Christian’s life.
The Bible teaches us that there is only one God, the God the Bible presents to us, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He must come first because He is first and wants to be the only God in people’s lives.
He will not tolerate anything which is put in His place.
False gods are those things we promote above God, or which we consider to be more important than God.
They can be the pursuit of money, one’s job, children etc.
Christ once said: ‘No man can serve two masters …’ For the real Christian there is only one God, the God who loves us and comes to us as our Father in Jesus Christ.
He wants us to love Him, worship Him, and serve Him.
This is the cost of discipleship—to follow God in the person of Jesus Christ and Him alone.
The negative aspect: Do not reckon anything in your life to be more important than God.
The positive aspect :Make God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only God in your life.
He is the Person you want to worship and to whom you want to dedicate your life.
How to understand the presentation: The 1 indicates the first commandment.
The blue background indicates that this commandment concerns our relationship with God.
If we add another arm to the top right hand side of the 1, we get an arrow pointing upwards (heaven is normally presented and indicated as being above us).
This helps us to remember that there is only, and can be only, one God, the God of the Bible and He must always come first in the life of the believer.
Don’t make idols (verse 4)
Don’t worship idols (verse 5a)
Don’t miscalculate God’s reaction (verse 5b)
Don’t forget God’s grace (verse 6)
Don’t misrepresent God
Worship God in truth
Where the first commandment concerns ‘Whom shall we worship?’ the second concerns ‘How shall we worship?’
The Bible prescribes that we must ‘Worship God in Spirit and Truth’
The purpose of this commandment is to keep our worship pure.
All false forms of worship are idolatry.
Worship is to give honour to a superior being, in this case God.
To worship God is to offer something to Him, to prostrate ourselves before Him with a sense of respect, awe, honour and homage.
Ultimately worship is an earnest desire to give to God, and primarily involves to adore and glorify Him for what He is and has done.
Some of His attributes are that He is holy, almighty, omnipresent, and omnipotent.
We see His acts in the fact that He loves us and forgives us if we really mean it when we confess our sins.
These are only a few of the things He has done for us.
Jesus Christ once offered his life for us on the cross.
He did this in order that we might give our lives to God, through accepting Christ as our personal Saviour and Lord.
This is the greatest form of worship we can offer God.
The negative aspect: This commandment forbids the making of images of God, or idols to be worshipped.
The positive aspect: God is a jealous God who wishes to be honoured and worshipped exclusively.
Do this by giving yourself totally to Him as an offer
How to understand the presentation: The 2 indicates the second commandment.
The blue background indicates that this commandment concerns our relationship with God.
If we add a ‘head’ and ‘arms’ to the 2 it looks like a person praying; indicating the worship of God.
This helps us to remember that we have to give ourselves (our everything) to God if we want to worship Him in sincerity.
God’s Name speaks to His
Reputation is attached to the name (
Character is built in the name (Jesus means God saves or Savior) chan
Personality is God’s distinctive traits (Jealous, merciful, etc)
Authority is built in the name
Honor the name of God
This commandment concerns respect for the name of God.
In biblical (ancient) times, names were important.
A name was not just a label or used to identify a person.
It suggested that person’s personality.
Thus God’s name reveals who He is and what He does.
His name is His person.
What we do to God’s name we do to Him.
How then must we use His name?
We should use His name only when we talk to Him and witness about Him.
This should be done with the necessary respect, piety and adoration.
So if we confess the name of God in our words our deeds must correspond with our words.
If not, we have broken the Third Commandment as surely as if we had used blasphemy.
The negative aspect: Do not dishonour God’s name by using it carelessly, in false or unnecessary oaths, or refusing to use God’s name to tell others about Him.
Making a name for ourselves instead of making His name great.
Praying our will not His will
Falsely Claiming to be speaking or doing by His authority
The positive aspect: We must use God’s name in a dignified way: with piety, and in honour.
Primarily the commandment calls us to put our hearts into our worship of God—in church, in family devotions, in personal meditation, and in our daily lives.
It means that all our words and deeds in the full range of our daily lives must bear witness to the honour of God, whose children we are and whose name we bear.
How to understand the presentation: The 3 indicates the third commandment.
The blue background indicates that this commandment concerns our relationship with God.
The 3 looks like the outline of a closed mouth (or lips).
This closed mouth indicates that we should not take God’s name in vain.
All this helps us to remember that we must be careful when we use God’s name and should honour and respect His name.
Honor the day of the Lord
This commandment concerns respect for the Day of the Lord.
Our Sunday is different from and a substitution for the Jewish Sabbath.
After God had led His people out of slavery in Egypt, He commanded this new nation at Mount Sinai (where He entered into a covenant with them) that they should work for six days.
The seventh day could be used for physical and spiritual refreshment.
The Sabbath was a call to rest.
God also rested on the seventh day after He created the universe (Genesis 2:1–3).
On this day believers should worship Him and have fellowship with Him in a special way, in order to be renewed for service in God’s world.
Through Jesus Christ a change came from the Sabbath to a Sunday as the day of rest.
As the full meaning of the resurrection of Christ dawned upon the early church, they spontaneously shifted their day of worship from the Sabbath (Saturday) to the Sunday (the first day of the week).
Because this was the day on which Christ arose, it became known as the Day of the Lord.
The negative aspect: Many things could be mentioned which ought not to be done on a Sunday.
We can always add more to the list.
Unfortunately many devoted Christians concentrate on this negative aspect and see abstinence from activities as a means of keeping this day holy.
The positive aspect: We have to stress what ought to be done on a Sunday, such as:
• attending church services/worship,
• teaching and listening to God’s word in catechism,
• partaking of the sacraments,
• entering into works of mercy, and
• seeking spiritual food for the following week.
How to understand the presentation: The 4 indicates the fourth commandment.
The blue background indicates that it concerns our relationship with God.
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