If I gave you one minute — 60 seconds — to list as many of the Ten Commandments as you could, how many could you name?
Recall more than 4 and you’re in an elite crowd. In fact, Newsweek did a poll not too long ago that revealed that 49% of all Protestants (that’s you and me) and 44% of all Catholics could name only FOUR of the Ten Commandments.
Most of us learned the Ten Commandments in Children’s Church … and have never looked back. But there’s a serious problem: the Ten Commandments are perhaps the most foundational rules God gave us for operating our lives.
I’m convinced that our lack of knowledge, and even more importantly, our lack of application of the Ten Commandments, is responsible for the deterioration of our nation, of our homes, of our churches, and of our personal lives.
And far from what most people think, the Ten Commandments were not given to restrict us, but to liberate us. So that we can experience life as God meant us to experience it. We can ignore God’s instructions if we want to, but we do so at great risk.
The reason God gave us rules for living was not to restrict our freedom but to enhance our happiness.
So let’s dive in … let’s go back to Exodus 20 … and take a quick look at the familiar story surrounding the Ten Commandments. The children of Israel had left Egypt. They’d been miraculously delivered from Pharaoh and were three months into their journey to the Promised Land.
You know the scene: Mount Sinai, where God appeared to His people in flashes of lightning, rolling thunder, and the sound of trumpets. Moses was called to the top of the mountain in order to receive the law that would govern the nation.
The Ten Commandments. God’s “top ten” rules for living.
God’s law serves three major purposes:
- First of all, the law was given for the well-being of God’s people.
God gave us His law for our good, for our betterment; not for His own benefit. The law is given to show us how to live life to the fullest.
- Secondly, the law was the foundation for the nation of Israel. Like our Constitution, the Ten Commandments formed a framework for living. It served as a common law, for a common people, living in a common land.
- And finally, the law was given to remind the people of their sinfulness.
Let’s face it, we’re not perfect! And God doesn’t expect us to be. The law is like a mirror that reminds us of our unholiness … our need for forgiveness and salvation –
– a sacrificial offering that ultimately would be fulfilled in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, the perfect sin substitute.
So what about you … how are you personally doing at obeying God’s “top ten” foundational rules for living? It might be time to take another look. I invite you to take a journey through Exodus 20 and the Ten Commandments, for a fresh look at these ten simple, but foundational, rules of Christian living. Examine the Law from God’s perspective and see how you measure up.