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Sunday, May 2, 2021

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter TWENTY

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Exodus by pastor Chuck Smith  

EXODUS 20: “THE TEN COMMANDMENTS” – by Sonny Islas, YouTube video.

INTRODUCTION: Mount Sinai is a pivotal point for the Nation of Israel because it’s here that Creator GOD - YAHWEH, is going to introduce Himself as Israel’s official King. Seeing that mountains represent kingdoms in the Bible, Mount Sinai served as a visible throne where God was and revealed Himself audibly and gave His governing laws – The Ten Commandments. This is a Theocracy where God Himself rules the people. Having God as your king is a blessing! And Israel is about to receive this blessing, but they don’t realize it, even though Moses does!

By the way, the Israelites were very familiar with Kings making laws for their people to keep. I.e. An ancient Babylonian King named Hammurabi was around near the time of Abraham. He created what is known to be the Hammurabi Code of Laws (282 rules). These laws were engraved on a black stone pillar in the shape of a finger – The Decalogue was engraved on two stone tablets by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). King Hammurabi’s stone pillar and laws were similar to yet inferior to The Ten Commandments. 

It had the king’s name at the top just like The Ten Commandments which starts with (vs. 2 “I AM The LORD Your God”) followed by a list of rules that would govern the people. So Israel was not naïve to what was happening here – they understood what God was doing.
The Hebrews, in witnessing GOD declaring to them His commandments was declaring Himself as their King and Ruler over them.

EXODUS 20:1-2
And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage
.

Who was it that spoke these words? GOD! These are not the ideas of mere man; these aren’t the Commandments of Moses. These are the very words of GOD Almighty that He spoke to Israel – the same GOD Who inspired all the Scripture and presented them to us!

2 TIMOTHY 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 PETER 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
.

This is the same GOD that spoke to the Hebrews in an audible voice Who also humbled the Egyptian pantheon of the gods, Who defeated Pharoah and his armies, this is the same GOD Who split the Red Sea and brought us to this place? This is the GOD that caused manna to rain from heaven and provided quail for us to eat? And water from a rock? Now we’re hearing His voice! Not just Moses’ voice repeating GOD’s words – but GOD Who is here introducing Himself to His people!

So now their ears are perked up and paid attention to the words of their GOD Who performed amazing signs and wonders and humbled our enemies!

Before I briefly explain the Ten Commandments, I’m going to give you 3 key points:

1. The Ten commandments are Universal Moral Laws, that is, God created humanity with an inherent knowledge that He exists and is worthy of honor (Rom. 1:21although they knew God they did not glorify Him as God”) and He also created us with a conscience that shows us good and evil, right and wrong (which in a sense reveals God’s Character). 

It’s universal because no matter what age or time period we live in, our conscience through inward conviction, guilt and shame tells us that murder is wrong, lying is wrong, stealing is wrong, idolatry and adultery is wrong etc. The Ten Commandments serve as a fresh and clear light in regard to who God is what God wants from humanity (at this point, specifically from Israel). The Ten Commandments and the entire Word of God serves as better light that conscience because God’s Word is never changing, and our faulty consciences do change.

2. Some tend to view the Old Testament as LAW and the New Testament as GRACE, but I believe that this is wrong. Let me explain: God never gave The Ten Commandments to Israel so that they can be saved by keeping it – but, so that they can be governed by it, be distinct by it, live in harmony by it, and be pleasing to God by it. The Ten Commandments were given to us to show us our sinfulness and our need for the Savior and His forgiveness. (1 TIM 1:9
)

Keep in mind that God graciously saved Israel from Egypt BEFORE He gave them The Law. He also graciously provided animal sacrifices – which was a clear foreshadow of Jesus’s gracious cross (animals that would die in their law-breaking-place). There were sometimes they committed a sin that had no sacrifice provided for them – some of these sins required capital punishment; no animal could replace the sinner in such cases! But it was God’s grace on display when He gave them The Ten Commandments.

Anytime God steps on the scene, whether Old Testament or New Testament, to kindly offer and freely give salvation, that’s grace. Salvation has always been by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). For example, Noah was saved by grace through faith (Heb. 11:7). Abraham was saved by grace through faith (Rom. 4:3). 

Heb. 3:18,19 tells us that most of these Israelites didn’t enter the promise land because they didn’t believe and that their unbelief was evident by their disobedience to God’s Laws. So then, true saving faith always produces obedience to God’s Word.

3. The Ten Commandments are not just Old Testament laws but are very much New Testament laws (except for keeping the Sabbath - Col. 2:16)

Jesus went deeper than teaching the external keeping of The Ten Commandments. Jesus commanded for all to obey the heart of The Ten Commandments (aka the spirit of the law).
In Matthew 5:27,28 Jesus says,
You have heard that it was said to those of old (ref. OT), ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you (making Himself to be the Yahweh of Mount Sinai) that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus was saying, Do not break the 7th commandment with your body nor with your heart. In other words, Don’t do it and don’t even entertain the thought of doing it; that is to say, Obey The Ten Commandments inwardly and outwardly.

In Matthew 5:19, Jesus honors those who teach others to keep The Ten Commandments and His clear practical extensions of them “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Apostle Paul taught the Ten Commandments. In Romans 13:8-10 Paul says, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (The 10 Commandments).”

The keeping of the entire Ten Commandments in short form is found in Matthew 22:37-40 where Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (The entire point of the Bible is simply this).”

EXODUS 20:3
You shall have no other gods before
(or besides) Me: It’s God’s way of saying “since I’m the One true God abandon every other non-god (all other idols – anything we place before God or love more than God). That means no images of what you think GOD looks like, no angel statues to worship, no images of anything of the sky or in the waters of the Earth or anything that moves upon the Earth.
Regarding this verse, John Calvin says that “human nature is like an idol factory that operates constantly.”

Listen, every fallen human heart is a kind-of pantheon of gods (idols). Just like the Babylonians, the Egyptians and the Greeks, the Romans, Hindus etc. every heart without Jesus as LORD is a temple to many gods!!! I.e. the love of money, love of perversion, love of praise, love of intoxication, etc.
The LORD Jesus must never be JUST another add-on to our already, so-called “ok” life. He Himself must be our life, our LORD, our everything. Anything less than this is idolatry.

EXODUS 20:4
You shall not make for yourself a carved image
… 5 to bow down to or serve (worship):
God does not want anything or anyone misrepresenting Him. He is like no other. His person, power and glory supersede anything that the fallen mind can make or think up. One thing that He hates most billions of people do and that is to worship statues, things, and corrupt ideas in the name of GOD. God hates all forms of idolatry.

EXODUS 20:5
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me
;

Vs. 5 - For I the LORD your God am a jealous God: In other words, God cares about His Holy, pure and perfect reputation and character, so don’t try and recreate it with material things -gold, silver, plastic, wood, imaginations. Because nothing and no one comes close to who I AM!

Vs. 5 cont’d - Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation who hate Me: God was saying that when one father gives himself over to idolatry, his children will follow in his footsteps, and their children will follow them etc. and God will judge them all. In other words, don’t leave a legacy of sinning and hating God but of obedience and loving God.

EXODUS 20:6
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments
.

Doesn’t that sound like the LORD Jesus Christ? “If you love me, you will keep My Commandments.” Anyone who says, I love Jesus, I love GOD – but doesn’t obey Him, that is proof that we don’t really love Jesus! A genuine love from GOD and a love returned to Him will cause us to obey Him!

EXODUS 20:7
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain
.

Vs. 7 - You shall not take the LORD’s Name in vain: Anytime anyone swears by God they are dishonoring Him. Anytime someone uses God’s Name as a curse word is dishonoring Him. Anyone who uses His name in a light flippant way like “OMG’’ or in a joke, etc, is dishonoring His Name. 

Every false preacher takes the LORD’s Name in vain. Every false Christian artist like Kanye West with His “Jesus is King Album” takes the LORD’s Name in vain. In other words many people disrespect His Name all the time and one day He will punish the guilty person. We get angry when people misuse and misrepresent our name and we’re fallen humans – He’s God Almighty!

EXODUS 20:8-11
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it
.

In the New Testament we find that the day of rest and worship was converted to the 1st day of the week Sunday and no longer the 7th day (Sabbath).
Anyone who doesn’t faithful gather once a week to rest from work and worship the LORD is dishonoring the practical application of the Sabbath Day. This setting a side one day out of the week to worship God with His people has been practiced since Adam and Eve (what we do every week has been around for 6k years!). Col. 2:17 says, These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

EXODUS 20:12
12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee
.

This is the only command that is connected to a promise – long life.
In the Old Testament children who greatly disrespected and shamed their parents were given the capital punishment - stoned to death! 

Exodus 21:17 says, “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.” Think about how kids and adult kids talk to their parents.

Ephesians 6:2 Paul says,
Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), We are called to love and respect our imperfect parents.

EXODUS 20:13
You shall not murder
:

Here we see that God values life, values humanity. Jesus says that hate in the heart is as murder. God is not against capital punishment, but he is against evil hearts that desire to hurt others – maliciousness. If only Planned Parenthood obeyed just this loving law – millions of precious innocent babies would be spared.

EXODUS 20:14 
You shall not commit adultery:
Here we see the high value God places on marriage and commitment. God wants us to be happy and content with the spouse we have. Marriage reflects Christ and His Church.as it outlines in this passage:

EPHESIANS 5:22-33
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband
.

EXODUS 20:15
You shall not steal
:
By the way, these are not the ten suggestions, they are the Ten Commandments. Stealing points to laziness, no concern for the property of others, a lack of gratitude for what you already have and a lack of contentment in what God has already given you.

EXODUS 20:16
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
:
Don’t slander or defame others. Don’t lie about others or about anything for that matter, know that God records it all and all will give account for what He has recorded.

EXODUS 20:17
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's
.

Covetousness is the sin that causes to break all the above. This evil desire to want something so bad you lust for it and would steal, kill, lie, cheat etc., to get it. God hates this ungrateful attitude. Covetousness says that God and His blessings are not enough – I MUST get more at all cost.

EXODUS 20:18-21
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was
.

The people were so petrified that they could barely stand on their two trembling legs! They begged Moses to let him hear the words of the LORD and then tell the people what GOD said, rather than to hear the words of GOD directly from His own vocal chords!
Moses tells the people, Do not fear - - well, that’s kind of hard not to do considering Who it is that’s talking with them!

Why does GOD at times convict our souls in such a fearful way when the Word of GOD pierces our souls and frightens us a bit? 

“…that his fear may be before your faces, that you sin not”.

That’s why at times the LORD allows us to be struck with holy fear, the fear of GOD’s punishment (as in “chastening” where His own children are concerned, but punishment and wrath regarding the rebellious sinners), of His wrath, of hell, of falling away – that makes us say, “I better pull back and turn to the LORD!”

The LORD wants us to obey Him, to love Him, to enjoy Him – it’s why He created us in the first place (“for His good pleasure” REV 4:11).

Why was it that Moses could draw near? For one, he was the only one allowed to draw near. And two, he knew GOD! The other people didn’t! When you know GOD, you have no fear of Him, but only that pure love and adoration. Still, the LORD at times uses fear to draw us back: it’s His way of showing us His love and grace!

EXODUS 20:22-23
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold
.

In verses 22 and 23, He makes it very clear on why He doesn’t want them to make anything and call it god – “Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 (therefore) You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves'.”

In other words, God is saying you heard My voice – you didn’t see My Face! So don’t act like you know what I look like.

EXODUS 20:24-26
24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon
.

Lifting a tool on a stone altar, that’s a picture of us trying to do worship our own way and not GOD’s way In other words, keep your tool off of GOD’s building – Christ will build HIS church, and has provided His tools in the Bible for us to use as He sees fit.

This stone being an altar also represents Christ; and there are those who want to pollute Christ, to change Him, make Him into a false image of their own religious persuasion, and this likewise is a pollution, an abomination (2 COR 11:3-4).
In closing:

David Guzik says: From the perspective of the entire Bible, we can say that the law of God has three great purposes and uses:

1) It is a guardrail, keeping humanity on a moral path.
2) It is a mirror, showing us our moral failure and need for a savior.
3) It is a guide, showing us the heart and desire of God for His people.
(For a more detailed treatment of these three purposes, refer to the Youtube video (link may be found at the beginning of this article)

I (James) would add a fourth purpose:
4) It demonstrates the holiness and justice of God.

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