Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 19 2011 - E100.21c – Exodus 20:1-21, The Ten Commandments

At Sinai, God gave Israel the law through Moses. The Ten Commandments are both an introduction to the law and a summary of its key principles. They cover every aspect of life; the Israelites relationship with God, with one another and even the thoughts of their hearts.

The law is given as a pattern of life for a redeemed people; it begins with the reminder, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Exodus 20:2). The Israelites are to live by this pattern not that they might become the people of God, but because they are the people of God. It is a revelation of God's holy character and requirements, given to teach Israel to fear their God and to keep them from sinning against him (20:20).

A life shaped by God's law would make Israel distinctively different from the nations around about them. They would be a people whose individual and corporate life would reflect and commend the character of their God and enable them to become a light to the nations.

The law is good, but there is something in the human heart that rebels against it. So the law becomes a reminder of what we are not – it reminds us that we continually fall short of all that God calls us to be. It easily provokes resentment.

But there is one who has lived in perfect obedience to all of God's requirements. Jesus did not remain at a distance from us but came to live among us. He lived the life we are called to live and died in our place that our sin might be forgiven. By his resurrection from the dead and gift of the Spirit he calls and enables us to follow him. We are no longer kept at a distance (see 20:21) but are embraced by God.

God of grace, I thank you for Jesus, my Saviour, my advocate, my example, my strength and my Lord. Thank you that his perfect sacrifice for sin frees me from the terror of the law and fills me with a sense of your great love for me. May his Spirit shape my life and the lives of your people so that together we may reflect and commend the character of our gracious God to an unforgiving and resentful world.

Peter Misselbrook