Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

tumblr_m7g58wbiHm1rukhkdo1_500 love-god commandmentsLiving in the Spirit
August 17, 2015

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25 Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26 Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.—1 Kings 8:22-26

I think the Israelites that Solomon stood before at the dedication of the temple would have been shocked, if they time-traveled to today and witnessed all the bluster about displaying the Ten Commandments anywhere. Throughout the wandering years when they worshiped in the tabernacle, the Ten Commandment tablets were carefully stored in the Ark of the Covenant behind a curtain. It was called the Holy of Holies for a people who were monotheist and were in constant discord with peoples who worshiped idols. Now they had a temple, a fixed placed to worship, with a special place reserved for the tablets and special rules on even who could enter the place. Probably the most serious complaint about Solomon’s reign was that he married foreign women who worshiped other gods.

While the love of God for God’s people has always been described as unconditional; the history of God speaks of a conditional relationship of walking before God as David had walked before God. As with David, God allows us to suffer the consequences of our own actions. Indeed, God still forgives, still actively engages with us when we are willing to seek God’s guidance and grace to learn the better way.

One of those gifts of guidance and grace are the Ten Commandments that God calls us to live. They show us the way. Our living them fully is the best way to show our commitment and respect for God. We teach others about them with our lives.

Prayer: Lord help me each day to walk in your way. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Graven Images

Ark of the CovenantLiving in the Spirit
July 6, 2015

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. –2 Samuel 6:1-5

I was raised in a faith tradition that took very seriously the second commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20)  We used the term “graven image” from the King James translation. For some reason it sounds more ominous than idol to me. A simple empty cross was about the only art in the sanctuary. We did have pictures of events in the Bible. This was, I believe, my church’s attempt to live the second commandment.

David’s exuberance over the return of the Ark of the Covenant was about stability returning to Israel, which had been at war for some time. It was actually a rare event to see the Ark for most of its existence it was tucked away in the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest saw it at special times.

A carved monument displaying the Ten Commandments was donated for use at the Oklahoma State Capitol a few years ago and has been the source of controversy ever since. In response a satanic group has applied to erect a statue of Satan near the Ten Commandment monument. The decision to allow the satanic statue was put on hold awaiting an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Ten Commandment monument. Recently they ruled the display of the Ten Commandment stone was unconstitutional. Now a group is talking about a vote of the people to change the constitution.

Because there are so many critical issues facing our state, I tend to agree with the prophet Joel when he said: rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. (Joel 2:13) Rather than displaying the Ten Commandments like an idol, we need to live them.

Prayer: O Lord, create in us clean hearts and right spirits for the facing of this hour. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.