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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

October 4, 2017

Exodus  20:8-14

  1. On the last time we met, I shared with you that there are far more commandments than ten. God gave the first ten, the people became afraid of God and asked him to stop (vs.18) and let Moses speak instead for God. These many commands are like the rules and boundaries you need to put in place for a new believer. These Israelites were babes in the Lord and they are not matured enough to live for God without many rules in place. Jesus told us that there are only two commands, love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The Israelites needed to learn how to love God and honor God which meant that they needed to be instructed in such a way as to remove the religious influences that they had assimilated into their lives. A lot of the laws were designed to counter religious practices of the various peoples that they had or would encounter. God will tell them to refrain from some stuff simply because those practices were so associated with other religions that the possibility of backsliding was too great. We already looked at the first three commands and determined that those commands were a reminder that we are to love the one true loving God. We are not to worship any other gods because there aren’t any gods worthy to be worshipped. We are not to make any images of God because we could never create anything that could capture the majesty of God. We are not to use the Lord’s name in a way that is less than reverent. God is too holy to be used for casual or demeaning conversation. So, these first three commands call for us to develop a strong worship life. A worship life where we worship God in Spirit and truth. Our worship is not to include other gods or idols. Our worship is to be God centered (spiritual) not fleshly or worldly centered.

  2. Verses 8-l l. Today we will begin with the fourth command given: “keep the Sabbath holy.” The Hebrews were slaves prior to their deliverance and they were used to working all the time. Working all the time causes you to depend on your labor and not God’s provision. God calls them to take the seventh day, our Saturday, to worship. A day of rest caused the people to develop a time to worship God. God had to force them to take time and give him glory and honor. They were not used to taking time to worship. God wanted to introduce them to rest. These people don’t know rest, they only know hard labor. When one is in slavery, they work hard, but never gain anything. This is a picture of being bound to sin. Sin will have you working, but will never pay you. The idea of a day of rest is a shadow of God’s provision of grace found in Jesus Christ. The Sabbath day was made for man to experience rest in the physical. Rest is picture of mercy and grace. On the Sabbath day, God provides and man receives. On the Sabbath day, the work of man is pictured as useless, but the provision of God is shown as gracious. The Sabbath rest gives humanity a time to reflect on the work of God. At the end of the sixth day, God looked back on his work and declared it was good and rested. We are to reflect on God’s work in worship and see God’s work as good then rest in him. The Sabbath day is a picture of Christ. Jesus is our Sabbath. Hebrews 4 speaks of Jesus as our Sabbath rest. Verses 9-l0 state, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” In the New Testament, Jesus declared Himself “lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew l2:8). He equated Himself with God the Father, becoming God in human form. In addition, Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). In Hebrews 3 and 4, the author developed the concept of Jesus as our Sabbath rest, revealing how a relationship with Christ frees humans from the works of the law and allows a person to rest in the work of Christ to forgive sin. Ultimately, those who believe in Jesus will spend eternity in a “Sabbath rest” with Him (Hebrews 4:9). Jesus serves as our Sabbath rest in the sense that He provides freedom from living under the works of the law. Instead, His sacrifice has paid the price for our salvation. We accept salvation as His free gift, entering into His rest both now as well as in eternity in His presence. Hebrews 4 ends with words of comfort for those who enter God's Sabbath rest: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). So, for us the spirit of the law teaches us the importance of worship, the recognition of Gods’ work, and our faith to rest in God’s provision. God will provide and because he provides we should take time out regularly to worship him. No longer for just a day, Saturday, but every day.

  3. Verse 12. Outside of God, the first people that we will most likely have a relationship with is our parents. God calls us to love him, and secondly, he calls us to love the people who are our parents. In this law, there is an assumption that the parents are following God, and thus the children should follow their parents as they follow God. This fifth command is a command and a promise. There is a connection to honor and longevity. The idea is that following the instruction of Godly parents will normally help you avoid many of the things that lead to short lives. The challenge is to avoid being rebellious against people who know more and love you more than you could ever know. Good parents want to send you on a trajectory of success, and want to caution you constantly about the dangers of life. Honor also includes giving parents a certain priority in your life.

  4. Verse 13. “Don’t murder.” This would mean to not take an innocent life. The brevity or simplicity of the command leaves little room for discussion. Killing an innocent life is murder. Jesus take the command higher and challenges us not to even think about it (Matt 5:20). Murder is the result of uncontrolled anger. At the root of murder is an evil angry heart. Jesus calls us to deal with the heart way before it gets to the point of murder. This is interesting in light of what has recently happened in Las Vegas. America not only has racism as a pre-existing condition, but murder and mass murder are American traits. The mass killing of native people speaks to our ability to not see people as other humans, but just things to destroy. Our parents are supposed to love us and teach us to love and value life. America has cheapened life for centuries. People are disposable and insignificant.

  5. Verse 14. “Do not commit adultery.” If murder is the result of uncontrolled anger, adultery is the result of uncontrolled passion and lust. The Israelites were probably exposed to pagan rituals that didn’t hold to the exclusivity of marriage. God is bringing them back to the concept of the sacredness of the union between a husband and a wife. The apostle Paul helps us to see that this union is a picture of God and his people in Ephesians 5. Jesus, also in Matthew 5, teaches us that not only is the act of adultery sinful, but the thought of it is sinful a well. It is the thought that leads to the action.

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