Exodus 20:18-26 — the Ten Commandments are one of Scripture’s revelations of God
In today’s lesson text we have God beginning to make details of His unchanging will clearly known to His people. In doing so, God revealed more of Himself and His ways. How extraordinary and momentous!
Through Moses, God gave the children of Israel the first written record of His will for them. The first part of the Law He gave them was the Ten Commandments, written with His finger directly onto two stone tablets (Deuteronomy 4:13). These commandments were immensely important in the plan of God. They were foundational to the rest of the Law which underpinned His covenant with Israel.
The Ten Commandments blessed Israel with a summary of God’s will. They were a concise a how-to for pleasing God. As a trustworthy guide to moral living, they offered reliable absolutes that wouldn’t change because they expressed the will of the Eternal One.
Imagine that all we had to do to please God was keep the Ten Commandments. Could you please God? Would anyone be able to please God? No, everyone has failed in at least one of those. And having failed in one, we become guilty all in the eyes of the Judge. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
Given our inability to faithfully fulfill even the minimum, it seems pointless of God to even bother giving the Ten Commandments. And if that be true of the minimum, how much more so of the whole!
The Scriptures including the Ten Commandments Are a Revelation of God
Whether we are talking about the Bible as a whole or just the Ten Commandments, we must remember that God’s Word isn’t primarily about us and our obedience. And though it is a guide to moral living, it isn’t primarily about that either. We must never forget that the Scripture is the revelation of God Himself. No wonder David exclaimed, “O how love I thy law!” (Psalm 119:197). Thus, our primary purpose in going to the Word must be to know God.
The Lord Jesus came and called attention from the Law to Himself. He also showed how the Law called attention to Him. He also taught the deeper, spiritual intent of the Law — “It hath been said . . . but I say . . .” He didn’t “raise the bar” when it comes to God’s will and Word. Those have never changed! Rather, Jesus lifted our sights from the shadow of the bar to the bar itself. To put it another way, the bar set by the Law in reality was only a shadow of the real bar.
(I excerpted and adapted the above from a lesson I wrote for Bible 903 in the new Sunrise Edition of CLE Bible 900.)