Didactics Course Teaching
Exodus 20:1-17
Obedience as worshipful response to redemption.
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Published October 23rd, 2019
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Exodus 20:1-17
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Exodus 20:1-17 NIVUK
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Exodus 20:1-17
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The Ten Commandments 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. 3 ‘You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land 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 give false testimony against your neighbour. 17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.’
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Main point summary
God speaks to his redeemed people setting out for them instruction on how to conduct worshipful lives that honour him.
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Exodus 20:2-17
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אָֽנֹכִ֖י 1 יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ 2 אֲשֶׁ֧ר הוֹצֵאתִ֛יךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֥ית 3 עֲבָדִֽים 4 ׃
b “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
לֹֽ֣א יִהְיֶֽה־לְךָ֛ 1 2 אֱלֹהִ֥ים 3 אֲחֵרִ֖ים 4 עַל־פָּנָֽיַ 5 6 ׃
c “You shall have no other gods before 1 me.
1. ‘You shall have no other gods before me.
לֹֽ֣א תַֽעֲשֶׂ֨ה־לְךָ֥ 1 פֶ֙סֶל֙ 2 3 וְכָל־תְּמוּנָ֔ה 4 אֲשֶׁ֤ר 5 בַּשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ 6 מִמַּ֔עַל 7 וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר 8 בָּאָ֖רֶץ 9 מִתָּ֑חַת 10 11 וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר 12 בַּמַּ֖יִם 13 מִתַּ֥חַת 14 לָאָֽרֶץ 15 16 ׃
d “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.
2. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
לֹֽא־תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֥ה 1 2 לָהֶ֖ם 3 וְלֹ֣א תָעָבְדֵ֑ם 4
e You shall not bow down to them or serve them,
You shall not bow down to them or worship them;
כִּ֣י אָֽנֹכִ֞י יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ אֵ֣ל קַנָּ֔א
for I the Lord your God am f a jealous God,
for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,
פֹּ֠קֵד עֲוֺ֨ן אָבֹ֧ת עַל־בָּנִ֛ים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁ֥ים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִ֖ים לְשֹׂנְאָֽי 5 ׃
g visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
וְעֹ֥שֶׂה 1 חֶ֖סֶד 2 לַאֲלָפִ֑ים 3 לְאֹהֲבַ֖י וּלְשֹׁמְרֵ֥י מִצְוֺתָֽי׃ס
but showing steadfast love to thousands 1 of those who love me and keep my commandments.
but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
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לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לַשָּׁ֑וְא
h “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain ,
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God ,
כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יְנַקֶּה֙ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־יִשָּׂ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ לַשָּֽׁוְא׃פ
for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
זָכ֛וֹר 1 אֶת־י֥וֹם 2 הַשַּׁבָּ֖ת 3 לְקַדְּשֽׁוֹ 4 5 ׃
i “Remember the Sabbath day , to keep it holy.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
שֵׁ֤שֶׁת 1 יָמִים֙ 2 תַּֽעֲבֹ֔ד 3 וְעָשִׂ֖יתָ 4 כָּל־מְלַאכְתֶּֽךָ 5 6 ׃
j Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
Six days you shall labour and do all your work,
וְי֙וֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י 1 שַׁבָּ֖ת 2 לַיהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ 3
but the k seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.
לֹֽ֣א־תַעֲשֶׂ֨ה 4 כָל־מְלָאכָ֜ה 5 אַתָּ֣ה׀ וּבִנְךָֽ֣־וּבִתֶּ֗ךָ 6 עַבְדְּךָ֤ 7 8 וַאֲמָֽתְךָ֙ 9 10 וּבְהֶמְתֶּ֔ךָ 11 וְגֵרְךָ֖ 12 אֲשֶׁ֥ר 13 בִּשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ 14 15 ׃
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 l sojourner who is within your gates.
On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
negativepositive
כִּ֣י שֵֽׁשֶׁת־יָמִים֩ עָשָׂ֨ה יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֶת־הַיָּם֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֔ם
For m in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
וַיָּ֖נַח בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑י
and rested on the seventh day.
but he rested on the seventh day.
עַל־כֵּ֗ן בֵּרַ֧ךְ יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־י֥וֹם הַשַּׁבָּ֖ת וַֽיְקַדְּשֵֽׁהוּ׃ס
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
inference
כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ
n “Honor your father and your mother ,
5. Honour your father and your mother ,
לְמַ֙עַן֙ יַאֲרִכ֣וּן יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃ס
o that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
actionresult
לֹ֖א 1 תִּרְצָֽח 2 ׃ס
p “You shall not murder. 1
6. You shall not murder .
לֹ֖א 1 תִּנְאָֽף 2 ׃ס
q “You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not commit adultery .
לֹ֖א 1 תִּגְנֹֽב 2 ׃ס
r “You shall not steal .
8. You shall not steal .
לֹֽא־תַעֲנֶ֥ה בְרֵעֲךָ֖ עֵ֥ד שָֽׁקֶר׃ס
s “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
לֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֑ךָ
t “You shall not covet u your neighbor’s house;
10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house.
לֹֽא־תַחְמֹ֞ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֗ךָ וְעַבְדּ֤וֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ֙ וְשׁוֹר֣וֹ וַחֲמֹר֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ׃פ
v 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.”
You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.’
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Teaching
The 10 Commandments are a hugely significant part of the bible. Not only are they central to the rest of the Old Testament but they also feature heavily in the New Testament too. This teaching will not examine every single command in great details, rather my aim is to outline the purpose for which they were given. There are 4 things to note about the purpose of the 10 Commandments: Firstly, they are given after the Exodus. Chapters 1-19 of the Book of Exodus explain how God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Only after then, does God give the law. We can see this in v2. God summarises what he has already done. This is important because it is a common mistake to think that God expects people to obey them then he will save them. The opposite is true. God expects obedience from those he has already saved. He doesn't demand it as a prerequisite. This was true in the Old Testament and it's still true today: it is only after Jesus has called his first disciples (Matthew 4:18-25) that he instructs them (Matt 5-7). Secondly, they are given as an act of worship. The initial request of God to Pharaoh was for him to let the Israelites go so that the can worship (Exodus 3:12; 4:22-23; 7:16 etc.). What will that worship look like? Well, we see it partly in the song of chapter 15, but it is not until ch20 when the Israelites get to the mountain (3:12). So when God gives the Israelites the 10 Commandments, he is instructing them on how to worship him. We see this same pattern in the New Testament again: worship of God definitely involves songs (e.g. Eph 5:18-20; Revelation 4-5) but it also involves our lives (Romans 12:1-2). Thirdly, they are given to all of life. The 10 Commandments are often divided into two parts (vv3-11 and 12-17; that is, Commands #1-#4 and ##5-10). Whether you think that is correct or not doesn't make much difference. But what is undeniable is that these commands span both 'the sacred' and 'the secular'. In other words, God is not merely interested in religious obedience (worship, Sabbath etc.). He is also interested in your heart, mind, actions (coveting, stealing, murder etc.). It is a grave mistake to think God only looks at part of your life. Worship of God extends to every inch and aspect of our existence. Fouthly and finally, they are given to point us to Jesus. They do that in a number of ways: The Big 10 show us how far short we fall. We might be able to explain away much of our sins, but these verses leave us in no doubt that we are guilty. Whether it's failing to honouring our parents or to honour God, we all fail. Jesus makes this abundantly clear in Matthew where he outlines the heart behind these commands. The recognition of our failure ought to point us to our need to Jesus - the only one who didn't fail - and yet the one who suffered total condemnation as a sinner. These verses also point us forward to what obedience looks like. You and I are not ancient Israelites at Mt. Sinai. We are not under the Law of Moses anymore. But we are, as Christians, under the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) - which is substantially the same (although there are differences of opinion between Christians about the Sabbath Day). Jesus still, having redeemed and rescued us by his death, expects us to thankfully worship him with obedience to his word.
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