The law of God

We’ve all felt excitement waiting for that special return: the anticipation, the gifts, the hugs. But there is one return we should expect that will be greater than all the others.

 
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I can’t believe I passed! There I was . . . as I sat in my driveway, with hands shaking, my heart beating, with flushed cheeks and feeling sick to my stomach. I had just successfully completed the second part of my two-part driver’s license examination.

Initially I had been overwhelmed with the amount of study, understanding and memorisation I had to complete in order to even get to the point of being able to be solely responsible for this two-tonnes of steel, glass and rubber.

It had taken me over one full year of difficult and serious study and focus. During that year I had experienced the full spectrum of emotions: from anger, rage and frustration to what I initially felt were a boatload of useless and restrictive rules. However, in the end, there I was in my driveway . . .

Only then did I realise that all that I had learned was to keep me—and others, by extension—safe, happy and healthy.

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The ten commandments: God’s driver’s license—for life

Because God values, loves and cares for all humanity, He has taken the time to give us all the same thing: a cosmic and comprehensive set of 10 rules. Only 10? you might be thinking, but the fact is that if you endeavour to keep these 10 rules for success and happiness in life, then you will, in fact, be both loving and valuing God and others.

The simple fact is this: there is a direct correlation between how much you obey God’s Ten Commandments to the amount of your success and joy in life. Let me put it another way: if you decide to live your life your way and ignore God’s Ten Commandments, it’s guaranteed that your life . . . won’t be much of a life.

God is love

God is love and therefore, it’s logical to deduce that His law reflects who He is. In fact, anyone who has flown commercially, although they don’t think much about it, are thankful for the volumes and volumes of safety regulations and the hundreds or even thousands of hours of training that pilots and technicians must undergo before they will be allowed to work on and pilot aircraft that carry the most precious cargo: humans! The same is true of God’s Ten Commandments.

The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and are most clearly lived out in the life of Jesus found in the New Testament. They express God’s love, will and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are necessary for all people in every age.

“It’s written in stone!”

When I was a child the words “It’s written in stone!” were not words I particularly wanted to hear. On many an occasion, I remembered my mother’s simple reminder to me of a hard and fast family rule that my father had made. Regardless of all my reasoning or arguing, I couldn’t wiggle out of the consequences of the rule I’d broken. Judgement was swift and decisive, and sentencing was applied to the seat of my knowledge with the paddle of remembrance.

The fact is that we all live in a world where we think that many things are open to interpretation—however, God’s Ten Commandments are not. It’s been said that God gave us all His Ten Commandments, not His Ten Suggestions. God Himself wrote these commandments down with His own finger on tablets of stone, handing them to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai (Exodus 31:18) and He did it for a purpose—to remind us that, even in a rapidly changing world, society and culture, He does not change and neither does His law.

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What are the Ten Commandments?

You must not have any other god but me.

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no-one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

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Honour your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

You must not murder.

You must not commit adultery.

You must not steal.

You must not testify falsely against your neighbour.

You must not covet your neighbour’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbour” (Exodus 20: 2-17, NLT).

The breakdown

The Ten Commandments are listed in a logical order. The first four commandments have to do with humanity’s relationship with God, then the last six have to do with humanity’s relationships with others. God is all about relationships—in fact the entire Bible is the story of humanity’s rebellion from God and our rejection of God . . . and God doing what it took to restore that relationship with us all. Ultimately, the Ten Commandments are all about preserving and optimising relationships (Matthew 22:36-40).

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Will you pass or fail the test?

In fact, God makes it clear that to consistently live a life that ignores or purposefully breaks these commandments, will only lead to brokenness—broken relationships, broken people and broken lives (Deuteronomy 28: 1-14). Conversely, purposefully choosing to live a life that consistently recognises the priority of God will lead us all to a more peaceful, power-filled and joyful life. Jesus noted: “ . . . My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10b, NLT).

So which will you choose today? Choose God and choose to follow His Ten Commandments. There’s no more important test to take and pass.

Omar Miranda is a regular writer for Signs of the Times and lives with his family in Georgia, USA.