I expect many of us have watched the movie The Ten Commandments at some point. Big-name stars like Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner portrayed the main characters. And we witnessed the epic battle of good verse evil through their portrayal of Moses and Pharaoh. Some sixty years after its release, it is still one of the most popular faith films ever made. And, as Easter rolls around again next year, I’m sure the movie will make its annual appearance.
Aside from the movie, have you ever stopped to ponder the ten commandments’ purpose for us today? Can you name all of them? Unfortunately, I could not remember all of them by heart, so I had to refresh my memory by looking them up in Exodus. So, let’s dig into more of the story of the Ten Commandments and why they are still essential to us today.
History of Ten Commandments
God gave Moses the commandments on Mt Sinai after the Israelites had traveled the desert for about 50 days. Once they arrived at the mountain, Moses went up and spent the next 40 days receiving and recording the instructions from God. Then he brought down the stone tablets for the people of God. They contained guidance on living a life that was pleasing to God. Throughout history, those words Moses received from God remain the basis of many modern-day laws. And they continue to guide us in our faith walk.
The Ten Commandments
Here is the short version of the commandments. Also, you can see the full description in Exodus 20.
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
God gave these instructions to Moses so His people could learn obedience to God’s will. But, Jesus’ birth many years later would end many of the ancient Jewish laws and rituals found in the Old Testament. And, as those practices fell away, New Testament Jews still kept the commandments as a guide. Our ancestors understood that belief in the risen Savior and obedience to the commandments allowed them to be a godly people. Also, their newfound freedom from the old ways would be a challenge without these guiding words.
Looking at the list above, we can observe the Ten Commandments in three separate parts. So, we will start by looking at the first three commands. These teach us about our relationship with God. Also, they help us understand He is a Holy God who is the creator of all things. And we need to approach Him with a Holy reverence that acknowledges Him as the Lord of our lives. Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) sums up the importance of these rules: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Fear in this verse means to view God’s authority and power with profound awe and respect.
Next, the second group of commands looks at how to care for ourselves. In fact, God wants us to rest from our labors. And, He understands the importance of recharging our bodies and minds. But this is more than just sleeping and taking things easy. God wants to be our source of absolute rest. Also, Godly rest refreshes our body, mind, and soul, even during turmoil. Matthew 11:28 (NIV) says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Finally, the remaining commands look at how we live peacefully with those around us. First, we must honor those who cared for us as children. Then, we see the list gets specific about the things we should not do. For example, we should not kill, commit adultery, steal, lie about our neighbors, or be jealous of their possessions. Lots of “do not” on this list. But, we can summarize this list with Psalm 34:14 (NIV): “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
The Greatest Commandment
Therefore, God gave these rules to Moses to help the people understand how to live a life pleasing to God. And they still help us today as the basis for our laws. But, when Jesus came to earth, He changed many things from the Old Testament times. And although the Ten Commandments still apply to us today, Jesus summed up a life pleasing to Him when He shared His thoughts after being asked which is the greatest commandment. He quoted Matthew 22; “37 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.”
In summary, if we love God, ourselves, and our neighbors, we live a God-pleasing life. And that is much easier to remember than memorizing the list of Ten Commandments. In fact, when we love others correctly, we fulfill the law.
My Heavenly Father, I want to live a life that is pleasing to You. So, please show me where I cannot love others the way You want me to. Thank you for the gift of the Ten Commandments to teach me right from wrong. Strengthen me daily in my faith and guide my steps. And grant me peace each night as I rest in You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Do you need prayer? I would love to pray for you. Submit your prayer request on my website at https://yvonne-morgan.com/submit-your-prayer-request-here/
Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
18 thoughts on “The Commandments”
Great reminder Ms. Yvonne. Have I always obeyed them all? No. Do I always obey them all today? Sadly, no. The difference is that I’ve already been forgiven for my human frailties and failures, and all that’s required is to apply the healing balm of grace through 1 John 1:9 in my saved life. Should we each endeavor to use these, and Christ’s great commandment to guide our lives? ABSOLUTELY!
We are work in progress each and every day. Thankfully we are also forgiven each and every day. Blessings
Thanks for this reminder. We should strive to obey and remember the Ten Commandments. God gave them to us for a good reason… to help us live well, honor Him and do good in the world. Even after Jesus, they’re still important.
Yes, they still having meaning for us today. God gave them to us so we could live a life pleasing to Him. Thanks Jessica. Blessings
Thank you for reminding us of the Ten Commandments. God provides guidance for life and we have the decision to follow Him or self. I pray I always follow Him.
I pray I can always follow Him too and that my life is pleasing to Him. Thanks Melissa. Blessings
Great reminder that obeying and honoring God abide in the commandments, including the Great One. God’s rules for life call us to live outside ourselves. Nice job, Yvonne. God bless.
Thanks Nancy. I appreciate your encouragement. Blessings
What a beautiful and thorough explanation of the role the Ten Commandments play in our lives and how! Another great post, Yvonne!
Thanks so very much Melinda. I think many of us forget their importance to us today so thought it would be a good reminder. Blessings
I love this post. It’s a refresher course. I remember a class discussion in fourth grade about the ten commandments. And I went to public schools! It’s sad how far our country as a whole is distanced from them today.
It really is sad how they are no longer taught especially since our laws are based on them. It is important for all of us to remember our foundation. Thanks Candyce. Blessings
Yvonne, you’ve provided a great summary of the commandments and a way to focus on the essence of the Law. Thank you!
Thanks so much Annie. I think they are still so relevant for us. Blessings
This is so well done, Yvonne. Jesus came to fulfill the law which included the commandments. Love your thoughts how they are guiding words for us today and your summary at the end is stellar insight.
Thanks so much Karen. Sometimes we have to focus on the basics to check that we are not straying from God’s path. Bly
A wonderful reminder of how we should live our lives. Although everything changed with the coming of Jesus (His gift of salvation changed our destiny), the Ten Commandments are still a guide for loving God and others, and living a righteous life. We often need such guidance–thank you.
Thanks Katherine. Blessings