Before giving the Israel people His Ten Commandments, God reminded them of His special relationship with them as His own chosen people. He also reminded them that He had brought them out of Egypt where they had been slaves. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage “ Exodus 20:2)
Centuries before, God had led Abraham out of Ur. “Then He said to him (Abraham), “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” (Genesis 15:7)
The Ten Commandments are direct commands from God that are essential for human conduct. They could be categorized as rules for (1) true religion, (2) true worship, (3) reverence, (4) time, (5) family/home authority, (6) life, (7) marriage purity, (8) property, (9) tongue and truth, (10) righteous integrity and honor. The Bible Knowledge Commentary page 139
The first commandments are man’s relationship to God:
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me”
Because Israel often disobeyed this law by worshipping idols of other nations, they were later exiled to Assyria and Babylon.
Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”
Because God was spiritual, there were no materials or figures that could possibly be used to resemble Him. He is a jealous God.
Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will. not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
His name must be honored and protected ….not to be used in any idle or frivolous way, (Lev. 19:12); or selfishly or for evil, (Ps. 139:20).
Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
The people were to work six days then rest and worship on the seventh day just as God had done when He created the earth. (Gen. 2:2-3) The seventh day to Israel was Saturday. Christians have changed the day to Sunday because of Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7; Cori. 16:2)
The rest of the commandments are man’s relationship to the others in the community:
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, -“
The key to a stable society is respecting your parents and honoring their authority!
Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.”
Man was created in God’s image and all life is sacred! “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God, He made man.” Genesis 9:6
Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
Marriage is a sacred vow made in a holy commitment to each other before God. This commandment was meant to keep a home stable. Adultery is considered “a sin” against (Genesis 20:9) and a “wickedness and sin against God”(Genesis 39:9; Matthew 5:7; and James 2:11).
Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal.”
This command is given to show respect towards others’ property. By stealing, it seriously questions if God is really “able to supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19).
Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
This law was meant to protect individuals’ reputation which is necessary in a stable society.
Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
This commandment covers thoughts and desires of the heart!
Many Bible School children memorize the Ten Commandments God gave the Israelites on Mount Sinai! My Mother learned ten hand signs that she could use when reciting them. They are displayed in many homes, churches and public buildings. Since they truly are a model for a stable society, it troubles me very much that one individual that feels “offended” by these Ten Commandments can legally have them removed by some judge! I still can’t understand that one!!