|Exodus 20 (NKJV™)|
|8||"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.|
|9||Six days you shall labor and do all your work,|
|10||but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.|
|11||For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.|
|12||"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.|
|13||"You shall not murder.|
|14||"You shall not commit adultery.|
|15||"You shall not steal.|
|16||"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.|
|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."|
|18||Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.|
|19||Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."|
|20||And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin."|
|21||So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.|
|22||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||'You shall not make anything to be with Me--gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.|
|24||'An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.|
|25||'And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.|
|26||'Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.'|
|Exodus 21 (NKJV™)|
|1||"Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them:|
|2||"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.|
|3||"If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.|
|4||"If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.|
|5||"But if the servant plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,'|
|6||"then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.|
|7||"And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.|
|8||"If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her.|
|9||"And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.|
|10||"If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights.|
|11||"And if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free, without paying money.|
|12||"He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.|
|13||"However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee.|
|14||"But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.|
|15||"And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.|
|16||"He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.|
|17||"And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.|
|18||"If men contend with each other, and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but is confined to his bed,|
|19||"if he rises again and walks about outside with his staff, then he who struck him shall be acquitted. He shall only pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for him to be thoroughly healed.|
|20||"And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.|
|21||"Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.|
|22||"If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.|
|23||"But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,|
|24||"eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,|
|25||"burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.|
|26||"If a man strikes the eye of his male or female servant, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for the sake of his eye.|
|27||"And if he knocks out the tooth of his male or female servant, he shall let him go free for the sake of his tooth.|
|28||"If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, then the ox shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be acquitted.|
|29||"But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past, and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.|
|30||"If there is imposed on him a sum of money, then he shall pay to redeem his life, whatever is imposed on him.|
|31||"Whether it has gored a son or gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him.|
|32||"If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.|
|33||"And if a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in it,|
|34||"the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall give money to their owner, but the dead animal shall be his.|
|35||"If one man's ox hurts another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide the money from it; and the dead ox they shall also divide.|
|36||"Or if it was known that the ox tended to thrust in time past, and its owner has not kept it confined, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall be his own.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
In this study from Exodus 20, we take a look at the Ten Commandments and the precepts of the Law. We'll learn to apply these teachings to our daily living and gain a greater understanding of its role in pointing us to salvation through Jesus Christ.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
Visit expoundabq.org for more information on this series.
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Hebrew terms: שָׁוְא, shav: empty something of its meaning; שַׁבָּת, shabbath: to stop; יִרְאָה, yirah: reverence; Yahweh
Publications Referenced: The Declaration of Independence
Cross References: Psalm 23:1; Proverbs 6:16-19; Matthew 5:27-28; Matthew 22:37-38; Mark 2:27; John 1:17; John 14:15; Acts 20:7; Romans 7; Romans 7:7; Romans 14:5; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Galatians 3; Galatians 3:11; Colossians 2:16; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:4-11
Turn in your Bibles tonight to the book of Exodus Chapter 20. Exodus Chapter 20, we hope to finish chapter 20 and 21 tonight going through the Bible and expound a couple of things as we begin. This is a textual community. So we gather, we meet around the text of the Bible. So it's a bible study and it's therefore always good to bring a Bible to a Bible study, just foundational. So if you didn't bring one you might have forgot yours, there is one close to you, usually in the chair in front of you, we welcome -- you're welcome to grab that.
It's a textual community but it's unique and that there's a discourse community built around the textual community that is via online with Twitter and with Facebook, we've developed a community where we encourage people who make this a Bible study during the week to talk about it, to share insights they have, to receive insights from others during the week. Everyday a message can be send to you via email or text or Twitter to help you answer questions that pertain to the text. So it's the -- it can be if you like it just a once-a-week Bible study and we're glad for that.
If you want more, if you want to talk about it, if you want to share with those who are here you can make the discourse community really augment the textual community by going to our Facebook page, Twitter page, et cetera. If you have questions about any of that on the way out, you can talk to our tech group or expound techies and who will set you up. You can get it on your phone, your iPad, your -- whatever you've got that conveys messages to your computer. And get more involved.
Also we invite you during the course of the evening to text questions. And so it's a dialog, it's interesting to have a Bible study with these many people but to have a conversation, so you can ask questions without raising your hand or you text them in and I can see them. Now, I don't answer all of them because I don't know all the answers to all the question.
But typically when they come up we like to throw them up and talk about it. Also since this is a bible study we're going to be here well until 8:00, no until 8:30, started at 7:00 all right, until 8:30 we're going to get out. So, as we bow our heads and pray, we want you to remember that we're going to be here until 8:30. If you're going in your mind "Oh, no, I can't handle sitting in this seat listening to this guy do what he's doing for almost an hour, I can't handle that." I understand and if that's the case make that decision now, so that you don't become a distraction later by getting up and deciding you're going to leave and we want to give our focus and attention to the principles of God's words. So as we bow our heads you could move to the back or the foyer or to a convenient location that wouldn't be a distraction later if you don't mind thank you.
Heavenly Father, we now come with our Bibles open, with our hearts open, we're so grateful for what you've done for us, in us, through us. Lord tonight is just a family gathering. This is our living room. You're our Father, you're our king, and you're our master. We have the privilege of reading and listening to the word of God given to and through Moses, when the law was given at Mount Sinai. We're not there physically but we can be transported back textually. Help us Lord to be interested and to focus and then to apply life changing and this transcendent principles that transcend culture and history and time. We asked it in Jesus name, Amen.
When I was young, I had a neighbor who was a California Highway Patrolman. Whenever I was out on the road and I saw his car, I panicked.
If I was driving a car I'd white-knuckle the steering wheel. If I was on a motorcycle I'd tensed up on the bike. And he had a brother who is also a California Highway Patrolman so they would work in tandem. But whenever I saw these guys in fact whenever I saw any policeman that was my reaction. I shouldn't say that was my reaction because of that training so to speak that conditioning it's still often times my reaction. I bet it's your reaction sometimes as well. You go, "Uh-oh!" You look immediately at your speedometer because you think "I must be going over the speed limit" and typically I am.
So I have that reaction, it's a negative reaction. It's a negative reaction because when I was growing up, I viewed law as something negative. They're out to get me, they want to give me a ticket, it's their quota, it's their job they want to give me a ticket. And that's unfortunate because the laws were given in our country and on the roads for driving not for negative reasons but primarily for positive reasons. So that I along with other drivers that I have to share the road with though if I had my brothers I wouldn't but I do. We do.
So that we can be conveyed from one place to another place safely. So that's the positive reason behind certain restrictions, certain laws, and certain speed limits et cetera. We learn the laws so that we can live safely and happily together. Well so it is with God's law. God's law isn't negative, it's positive. God gave his laws to his people so that they could live in harmony together and be conveyed through life happily and safely. And yet, though that's true and that is how it worked. There was a negative twist to it in that the law when you read it or when you hear it, it reveals the truth about yourself.
Just like when I see a California Highway Patrolman I tensed up that reveals something about who I am, not who they are but who I am. And so the Law of Moses revealed man's sin. Because your God is saying "Do this, don't do that, don't do this but do that." When we read that and we say "Well it says don't do that but I've done that" it says "Do this" but I haven't done that so well, it reveals that I have fallen short.
It's sort of like a glass of water. If you take a glass of water that has some dirt or impurities in it then it looks cloudy. If you just leave it there for a while, minutes or hours, it begins to settle at the bottom all those impurities or that dirt. And when you look at it, it's deceptive, it looks crystal clear after a while the dirt has settled.
If you take a spoon however and start mixing it up, the truth is revealed. The dirt gets mixed up in the fluid and you can see that it's cloudy. The law is like the spoon. The law stirs up the nature within us. It shows who we really are and what our inclinations really are. That's why Paul said in Romans Chapter 7 "I would not have known sin unless it were for the law". Now he's going to say that in Galatians Chapter 3 that "No man is justified before God by the law, for we're justified by faith and not by law."
No one can be justified by it but it does reveal our need. And we're now dealing with the section, in Chapter 20 the precepts of the law and then the expansion of that on in the Chapter 21. Now as believers, here we are as New Testament believers tonight, reading an Old Testament book of the Law of Moses. And you probably know if you've been a Christian for very long that the New Testament says we're not under the law, do you know that? Meaning we're not under the covenant of the law. John Chapter 1 "The law was given by Moses but grace and truth was given by Jesus Christ" making a comparison between two totally different covenants.
But though we're not under the law, the bottom line of lives ought to be that we want to please God. We want to please God. And that is the bottom line of the law. The law in the Ten Commandments, if you were to sum it all up at its irreducible minimum at the bottom line, it would be number one, that we love God supremely or supreme devotion to God, number one.
Number two, sincere affection for man, or mankind I should say for people. Supreme devotion for God, sincere affection for one another, loving God, loving each other and that sums up the law, Jesus said "You will love the Lord your God" quoting from the law, "With all you heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two hang all the law and the prophets.
So the principles of the law in the Ten Commandments Chapter 20 are two-fold, there's an axis. Think of it as an axis. You have a vertical axis and a horizontal axis. The first four commandments talk about your vertical axis, man to God, that's the relationship. The commandments are God word. But the second six commandments are horizontal. They're man word. They're man to man, woman to woman and how we relate with each other, so God and then men, vertical and then horizontal.
So we have started last week and we finished Chapter 19 which is the preparation for the covenant. We continued into Chapter 20 which gives us in the first two verses, the preface to the covenant. And then beginning in verse three with the Ten Commandments, we saw the principles of the covenant and we didn't make it through we had to stop. So by way of review, we look at the first view verses, and let me just sum up for you the first three commandments before we get into number four. We covered three last week.
The First Commandment tells us whom we should worship. "I am the Lord your God. You will have no other gods besides me." The Second Commandment tells us how we should worship, the first whom we should worship, the second how we should worship. "You will no graven images" that's the Second Commandment. Who and then how. The First Commandment worship God exclusively. The Second Commandment worship God correctly. The First Commandment forbids false gods. But the Second Commandment forbids the false worship of the true God. Make sense?
No images and we touched on that last week. Why? Why was God a stickler and He will repeat himself by the way. Don't cast an image that represents that you would bow down to it to worship it. And it's because an image, by its very limitation misrepresents God. You can never make an image that fully captures the personality of God. So it will misrepresent God as soon as it's made, no matter how beautiful it is. It doesn't fully represent the totality of his character and nature. So it is instantly at once a misrepresentation of God.
And because it misrepresents God, it misleads people. If you have a misrepresentation then people would be mislead. They will think "Well that's God looks like" or "That's the nature of God as depicted by the look on that statutes face", et cetera, et cetera.
Then we came to the Third Commandment. And the Third Commandment in verse seven, "You will not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." That's where we stop. And we mentioned last week that the word "in vain" is the Hebrew word "shav" which means to empty something of its content or its meaning. Don't empty God's name of its value, its content, its meaning.
It is to be a name. He is to be spoken of reverently in a holy fashion, not irreverently, not emptying of its meaning. Enough said. Verse eight. We come now to the Fourth Commandment. Still on the first table of the law, still dealing with the vertical axis. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. 90 times in the Old Testament the term "Sabbath" appears. 55 times in the New Testament the word "Sabbath" appears. The word "Sabbath" in Hebrew "Shabbat" simply means to seize, to stop. Because God worked for six days creating the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day he stopped, he seized. He took a Shabbat. And it wasn't because he was tired. God didn't go "Man those giraffes. So much detail, so much energy."
No he rested because he was done. There was nothing left to do. He had completed what he set out to do. After six days it was done. The seventh he got rested. So remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Shabbat of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work. I like that, a commandment not to work.
You know your son, nor daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. And rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord bless the Sabbath Day and he hollowed it.
The day would be set aside, why? To honor God and to recharge your battery. It's interesting, it's sad. When we get to the New Testament, the Jewish nation had made keeping the Sabbath work, not rest. You have to work at it. There were 39 restrictions that people knew about aside from what the town would have said of which you couldn't do on the Sabbath. Do you know that in the Jewish Talmud, the assembled writings that include oral law, commentary, et cetera, 24 chapters were devoted to laws observances for the Sabbath Day, 24 chapters? Discussions for example on what is a burden. You can lift a burden on a Sabbath Day. It's in the law. That's work. You can't lift the burden. But they argued "What is a burden?" And they argued back and forth. Can a woman lift her child on the Sabbath? That's a burden.
Can you light a lamp and move it from one section of the house to another? Could a woman wear a broach on the Sabbath? It's a burden. Looks nice but you're carrying something. Could you wear false teeth on the Sabbath? I was interested that they had false teeth back then. And then that they made a big deal out of it. And they made a big deal out of it so it was actually more work to keep the Sabbath that it was to work for six days.
That's why Jesus had to come along and say "Listen, the Sabbath was made for man. Man wasn't made for the Sabbath." The Sabbath, part of the Ten Commandments, is part of the covenant that God made with Israel. It does have a principle. It does have a fulfillment. And the fulfillment of the Sabbath in the New Testament is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our rest. He is our Sabbath.
There therefore Hebrews says remains a rest for the people of God. And whoever enters into that rest has seized Shabbat from his own works as God did from his. God finished the work of the cross. So that is why of all of the Ten Commandments the one commandment that is not repeated for the church to keep is the Sabbath. If you will it's nullified, Colossians Chapter Two tells us. Let no one judge you. "Let no one judge you in respect to a festival or a Sabbath day which is a shadow of things to come but the substance is of Christ."
So it is the only non-moral commandment and therefore, as part of the covenant of Israel, is not enforced upon the church. Now, the early church often met on the Sabbath, but soon we read in the Book of Acts, they started meeting the Bible says on the first of the week, Acts Chapter 20, First Corinthians, et cetera, when you gather on the first day of the week, the reason was simple. On the first day of the week is when Jesus got up out of the grave by resurrection and we celebrate resurrection power.
Now if you're worried about, well, I don't know. I'm still not convinced. I feel like I should keep the Sabbath. You want to know that we have a Saturday night service.
We love to keep the Sabbath and you're welcome to come and meet with us on our Shabbat Saturday evening service. You go, "No, no, no, no. I'm into the resurrection day." Well, then we have three Sunday morning services. You can take your pick.
But I sort of like what Paul said, he said, "One man steams one day above all the other days of the week." Another man says, "All the days of the week are alike. Let each one be persuaded in his own mind", and that sort of where I am personally. I love to worship God on Saturday and Sunday and Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. And then again on Saturday and then on Sunday and make everyday, the Lord's Day.
If you're hanged up on a day, go ahead be hanged up on a day. You have the prerogative. You have the grace. We won't judge you but the Bible says, "You're not to judge us either." We can just rest in that. Verse 12, the Fifth Commandment. This is the commandment that every parent loves to quote and every child hates to hear.
I remember hearing it from my Dad especially, "Honor your father and your mother." He loved pulling that out. "That your days maybe long upon the land which the Lord your God has given you." What could that mean? Well, hang on for Chapter 21 and you'll see exactly.
Interesting that the very First Commandment in the section of the Ten Commandments. The First Commandment in the section, we're dealing now with the horizontal. After the Sabbath, the vertical commandments, the first four are over. We're dealing with the second tablet of the law, man to man. But first on the list is not, "You shall not murder or steal", but you will honor your father and mother." It's a positive commandment. It's not a negative commandment. It's a commandment with a promise.
By the way, this commandment is mentioned eight times in the Bible, twice in the Old Testament, six times in the New Testament. It's a commandment with the promise. Honor your father and your mother. Now, why is that put first as if to be, if you were to notch them as God's top ten list that this would be even higher put than you will not murder, you will not covet, et cetera, et cetera. Well, because everyone has parents. You have to or you wouldn't be here.
Not everyone has a wife so adultery isn't put first. Not everyone necessarily has a neighbor if you live way, way out then tulles by yourself. You could be neigborless. But everyone can apply this commandment and your first neighbor, so to speak, is in your family, your parents. So this is placed as number in the list. "Honor your father and your mother."
Typically, not always but typically the first words that a child speaks, it's not bicycle, it's not stock market. It's not dude. We learn that later on. It's typically, dada or Mama. It's the name of a parent that affectionate title. So this primary relationship is put as the primary commandment.
Sixth Commandment is verse 13, "You shall not murder." Now the old King James said, "Kill." The New King James that I'm reading from in most modern translations will say murder because that's the idea of the word. Its' not you shall not kill because in the very next chapter, God will prescribe killing for certain things. So this is the intentional taking of life for personal reasons. Now, mark that.
The intentional taking of life for personal reasons not for national reasons, not for judicial reasons, this is the intentional taking of life for personal reason. That's the idea behind, "You shall not murder." This is pretty important. This tells us that to God life is sacred. Now hear me, hear me out. Death must always be viewed through the lens of life. Oh, let me rephrase that. Death must always be viewed through the lens of the value we place on life. So, if you believe that life is a gift from God that we were created by God in his image and that we exist because God made us all. Life is a gift and life is sacred then to take a life, to murder someone is an insult and assault against God himself.
If however, you don't believe that. You believe man is simply a biological animal. We've evolved after a millions of years because of fortuitous occurrences of accidental circumstance. Here we are by accident, the cosmic accident called man. Then to end a life simply a biological process, right. Nothing more or less attached to it, it's not from God. You could take the life of an unborn baby. You could take the life of an old person with euthanasia because you know they're not valued in society. That kind of thinking will result in that. So death is always viewed to the value that we place on life. God places the high value on it because we're made in his image and after his likeness. So he makes this declaration, "You shall not murder."
I should be quick to add something since tomorrow is the national day of prayer. Our forefathers believe that life is a gift of God. In the declaration of independence, listen to how they put it. We hold these truths to be self-evident. In other words, come on dude, figure this out, any dummy knows of this. Self-evident, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal and endowed by there creator with certain an unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's built into the fabric, the DNA fabric, the moral DNA of this nation, these commandments.
Verse 14 is the Seventh Commandment, "You shall not commit adultery." Now in this commandment, God is building a fence not just around life like he did in the previous one but around marriage. God recognizes that the sexual impulse is one that he gave. You know, that's a revelation to some people. They talk about you know, they're into sexuality and express -- God invented it. Give him credit. It was his idea. The impulse is God-given, because it's God-given, it must be God governed. God directed. God guided. So he's building the fence around marriage, you shall not commit adultery.
The next commandment verse 15, "You shall not steal." Let me back up just a moment. Sex is a gift by a good God to the people that he loves. In its proper domain, it's beautiful, it's a beautiful expression. As one man and one woman for one lifetime are devoted to each other, it's beautiful. If you take it out of its context, it's no longer beautiful. It's ugly and it's ravaging. I love to see a beautiful garden, a beautifully kept garden. I'm amazed when you have beautifully dark soil and the enriched nutrients that are in it and to see things pop up from that. And in its context, dirt looks really good in a garden. But if I were to take a scoopful of that dirt and throw it on your brand new white carpet, you would even say, "That's ugly. It's out of place. It doesn't belong here." Bingo!
It's the idea behind the commandment. You shall not commit adultery. And I say that because a lot of times people look at God's commandments, "He's so negative." really? You think that's negative? If you saw a sign that says, "Do not enter." You could say, "That's negative." But read the next line that says, "Do not enter: Explosives." Now I interpret that sign as not being negative but being positive so that you don't get blown to smithereens. It's a positive reason behind that seemingly negative commandment. So some of these commandments will say, "You shall not, you shall not, you shall not." and others, "You shall."
But they're all positive given by a loving God. "You shall not steal." Stealing was a problem from the very beginning. It's interesting that even in this era, in the very beginning in the time of Genesis, we read about watchtowers built that when you'd have a piece of property you'd build a watchtower on it. Why? So that you could watch in case thieves would come into your land or the land you are working for as the gatekeeper and steal things from it. That was a form of stealing to walk across the boarder and steal a produce.
Another form of ancient stealing, get this, was taking the rock marker that marked the boundary of your property and moving it slightly. And then the next night moving it slightly and couple more weeks moving it slightly so, you're stealing land from your neighbor by moving the marker. And they'll be a law against moving the ancient boundary marker "Don't touch that. Don't mess with it. Respect that." Now God is drawing a fence to protect personal property. There's a lot of ways people can steal. You can steal from your boss. "They won't mind if I take this pencil or pen home. They've got plenty on the other desks. I can have this one. I write with it everyday, I deserve it" that's stealing. You can call in sick when you're not sick. Go home early I'm not feeling good because you want to go do something, that's stealing. Making phone calls on company time or on the company dime, stealing. You can steal from the government. We just finished tax season. You know if what is honest and forthright or not. You can also the Bible says "Steal from God." In the Book of Malachi, the prophet says, "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me and the people say, "How have we robbed you God?" and God says, "In tithes and offerings.
The covenant that I've made with you children of Israel is that you take the first 10% of your income and you give it back to me. I gave you 90% to keep you know, this is not England you don't have to give 90% away as tax and keep 10%. You can take the first 10% however, and give it to me for my purpose and my work and you've withheld those tithes and offerings and you've robbed the Lord. So here's the commandment that could be applied to any of those categories, your employer, employees, if you don't pay them what they worked for and what they're worth, government, God, et cetera. Verse 16 is the Ninth Commandment. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
No lying. No lie. This commandment is based upon the character of God himself. God loves truth. God hates falsehood. Have you ever read of in Proverbs Six or at least The Seven Things that God Hates? And in that little list it says, "God hates a lying tongue, and the person who spreads false witness by lying about his neighbor." God says, "Of all the things I hate -- and he mentions it twice, it's a lying tongue." So don't bear false witness. God loves truthhood, truth and hates falsehood. I said truthhood. I can't believe it.
The Tenth Commandment is Verse 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, his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbors.
The Tenth Commandment is far different from all of the other proceeding commandments. All the other commandments dealt with outward actions. This deals with a hidden inward attitude. Nobody sees you if you covet. That strong desire, that in ordinate desire that nobody sees that you have towards something someone else owns, even in a relationship, a husband or a wife nobody sees that coveting. Coveting is big business in our country. $14 billion a year industry well it's not called coveting. It's called Research Management Advertising. Do you know that people work hard and spend extra hours trying to figure out ways to make you not satisfied? They do it's -- and you see it with clever advertisements, commercials and you see them or you read something or you see a picture, and suddenly you feel incomplete because you don't have that. You need that experience. You need that object. And they'll show people who are chic and smiling, who have that. And so you think, "Oh for me to look like that suddenly younger and beautiful, suddenly tall and handsome and happy is to have what they have." Billions of dollars a year are spent on making you feel miserable so that you will covet things that you don't have.
Now, of all of the commandments, this was the commandment that Paul said, the apostle when he read it. "It did a man that killed him and slave him." he said. Because Paul if you remember was a Rabbi and very meticulous to keeping the Old Testament law said "Concerning the law, I was blameless." Remember that in Philippians, he gives his testimony because I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, I was circumcised the eighth day. And when it comes to keeping the law, I was perfect, I was blameless. But in Romans he said as he was reading through the commandments, that last commandment, "You shall not covet." And then he realized that the Law of Moses was not simply given to govern my outward action, but my inward attitude as well. See that's what Jesus said in essence didn't he on this on the Sermon on the Mountain. He said, "You have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery." We just read that. But I say into you "If you look lustfully at another woman and you lust after her in your heart, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart." You've heard that it was said "You shall not murder" but I'm saying to you, if you're angry with your brother without a cause, you are a murderer. In other words it's not just the outward action, it's the inward attitude. Coveting nobody sees. God does. And it's interesting that the last commandment deals with that.
Verse 18, we deal with the people of the covenant, now all the people witnessed the thundering, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking. And when the people saw it they trembled and stood a far off. They said that Moses, "You speak with us and we will hear but let not God speak with us less we die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear for God has come to test you that you may -- that His fear may be before you so that you may not sin." So the people stood at far off but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. Moses played the role of a mediator between the people of Israel and God who is giving the law. A mediator was to go between. A mediator would represent the people before God and the words of God to the people, he was the mediator. In those days in ancient times, a mediator was needed when you had two parties that were distinctly different from one another, very opposite to each other, Holy God in this case, simple man. So you have this mediator. When I was growing up I had a mediator. I called her mom.
Whenever I got in trouble with dad, I was so happy when my mom would step in and say a few words on my behalf and sort of take my dad's hand and take my hand and bring us together. She had a way to do that and nobody else had that way. Mom was the mediator. She softened the punishment. She softened the blow so to speak. Mitigating between whatever judicial action my father was going to levy on me.
Now in the New Testament, Paul writes to Timothy and says, "There's one God and there's one mediator between God and man that's the man Christ Jesus. He is your mediator. He is my mediator." Now because that is true, listen, don't ever let anyone take you back to the Old Testament and be your mediator between you and God. Some will try. Some will be your personal shepherd and give you personal counsel and tell you, "No, you can't buy that television until I tell you, you can -- I'll be your personal shepherd and I'll be responsible before God for you." I wouldn't want that responsibility.
But do you know there was -- started years ago and they're still pockets of these shepherding kind of movement where people abnegate their responsibility of being who they are before God or trusting the mediatorship of Jesus Christ before the Father and letting somebody else fulfill that role. Huh, David said, "The Lord is my shepherd." Why would you settle for second best? Why would you let anybody else be your shepherd? Now pastors are called shepherds in the New Testament because of their role of feeding the flock, but not because we're mediators between God and man only Christ is and I need one as much as anybody.
I'll never forget the gal who came in for counseling. She had went to several counselors. She was in love with this one man and she didn't know she should marry him or not and she got conflicting counsel. So she came into my office and she said, "I told the Lord this morning before coming here that whatever you tell me is what I will do. So I need your counsel, should I marry him or not and I told the Lord whatever you tell me is going to be God's will. So what should I do?" I smiled and I said, "You're not going to put me in that role. I am not going to be your go between and I am not going to be mediator. I can tell you principles in God's word that will help you make that decision, but you make that decision on your own."
So back then, Moses was the mediator, the people stood up far off because of what they saw and what they heard. Then the Lord said to Moses -- oh by the way, noticed, I'm looking at the clock, we're going slower than I anticipated. In verse 20, Moses said to the people, "Do not fear." They were afraid. What they saw in that quaking, fiery, thundering mountain with lightning, they didn't want any part of that. They didn't want to die and God told them to stay back in the previous chapter. But Moses says, "Do not fear for God has come to test you and that his fear maybe before you so that you may not sin." What was the test? What did he mean, "God has done this to test you." Here is the test I believe. The test is, will these people see the gap that exists between me and them? There is a gap, I'm perfect, I'm holy, I'm creator. They're fallen, they're simple. They need atonement. There's a gap between us. I wonder, here's the test, let's see if they're going to rush quickly up and just go. You know I'm going to hang out with God the Father like we can today in New Testament times because of Jesus. Let's see if they're going to have the fear of the Lord that will keep them from sin. Let's not talk about much these days, the fear of the Lord but the Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the beginning of knowledge."
To live with a holy fear of the Lord, now you're thinking, does that mean I have to run around everyday and be afraid of God, is that the fear of the Lord? I'm so afraid of God. He's going to crush me and beat me up. That's not the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord in Hebrew, "Yirat Adonai or Yirat Yahweh" means a reverential awe.
A reverential awe toward God that makes me afraid of not pleasing him, that makes me afraid of offending him because I love him because of who he is. I don't want to displease him, I'm afraid that I would somehow displease him. That's a healthy fear to have, that what keeps people from sin. So read that again before we move on. Moses said to the people, "Do not fear. Don't be afraid for God has come to test you that his fear, that reverential awe toward a loving God maybe before you so that you may not sin." So the people stood the far off.
But Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. 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, and you shall not make anything to be with me. Gods of silver or Gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves." So once again, the second commandment is repeated, reiterated, restated, reinforced.
And then look at verse 24, I find this very interesting, "An altar of earth, an altar of earth you shall make for me and you shall sacrifice on it. You're burnt offerings and your peace offerings. Your sheep and your oxen in every place where I record my name, I will come to you and I will bless you." I love that promise. "And if you make me an altar of stone you shall not build of human stone for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it." God wanted an altar made out of earth. We would say in this state adobe, dirt, clay, contact lens. Not an altar of stone especially human stone and altar of earth. Why is that? I mean think of it, wouldn't we understand and isn't this the idea of many builders of modern buildings, church buildings, temples only the best for God. It has to look really good. It has to be the most ornate. It has to be the most expensive and it's interesting. I have visited holy sites around the world, they take my breath away. I've been in huge cathedrals with tall ceilings.
And if you saw the Royal Wedding this week and you got the camera glimpses of those areal views of Westminster Cathedral, it's breathtaking. It's amazing. I've stood in that chapel many times. And churches like that around Europe, they're fascinating. It is a monument and it's a tribute. And I understand the thinking is to draw one's thoughts heaven word. But can I just say quite frankly that typically, they direct my thoughts toward, wow, the people who built this are magnificent. What technology they have back then a thousand years ago to pull this off? And I look at the stained glass and I looked at the stonework and I go, wow, wow! And honestly, I'm not directed toward God. I'm distracted from God much more then if it was a pile of dirt, it was the pile of dirt in a lot it'll be different.
So, when architects go to build holy sites, well, I'll put it this way. If you remember this was a soccer field before that tennis courts. If any of you were around you'll remember there wasn't carpet on the floor there was Astroturf and we first met in this building, it was a big -- it's a tuff shed is what this is. It's a big, gigantic tuff shed that's all it is. The metal roof still on it, the middle sides are still on it. We've covered it up with the little glass and stucco but it's just a tuff shed. And when we saw the tuff shed, we dug it because when we saw and back then Astroturf and we pulled it up and you know that underneath there still not cement, it's just asphalt.
So we met here and imagine the weddings when the bride would come down the aisle on an asphalt runway and how her dress looked by the time she walk to 120 feet from the back to the front. Pretty messy, there was ever a case for black wedding dresses that would have been it.
We love it because no one would come in and then go, "Wow, what an incredible tuff shed!" It's absolutely stunning. I mean look at, it's essentially a functional room, it's a plain building with a plain roof and chairs, and it's functional. I think the god wanted an altar that wouldn't distract people from thinking about who He is rather than about what they could do in the representation. Just keep it simple God said, "Nothing ornate, nothing distracting just dirt." If you use stones, don't cut them up. Just pile stones on and make that the altar, very simple, very natural.
And if you make an altar a stone, you so not build out of human stone for if you use a tool on it, you have profaned it nor shall you go up by steps to my altar that your nakedness may not be exposed on it. You go away up high and your wearing your robe and people see you as you go up and you get the picture. So these are -- these are the principles of the covenant that we covered. I thought we would be able to do all of Chapter 21 and we're out of time. So we're going to have to wait till next time to cover the next chapter. We'll go quickly to the next chapter. It's not as median as rich.
Now, let me warn you. Let me warn you. Beginning in Chapter 21 is where we lose most people. Most people decide, "I'm going to read the Bible. I just want to read all the way through the Bible." So they start in Genesis. Pretty good reading stories about men and women in real lives and moving from one place to another and then Exodus "Oh I love this." I mean, Exodus now in Egypt and leaving Egypt and the plagues and the Red Sea. Then Ten Commandments, cool highlight of the book, then we get to Chapter 21, 22, 23, 24 and we get into a very detailed laws that seemed odd to us like when was the last time you had worry about your ox goring a man? But it mattered to them, it was huge to them, it also forms the basis of our modern jurist prudent system, the laws that govern social networking, social responsibilities. The laws that govern interaction with one another and there are principles that transcend some of those minute details.
So beginning in Chapter 21 as we'll see you next time when we gather and Chapter 22 and 23 and 24, we get the Ten Commandments enlarged, the Ten Commandments put under a microscope. We go from precept or excuse me, we go from principle to precept, from general principle to specific precepts or look at just the first verse, just the first verse. We won't go to the book but or the Chapter. Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them or these are the precepts, these are the ordinances. I'm going to take the principles that I've given you, the ten principles and now you apply them.
We've covered the heart of the law the Ten Commandments. Next time we look at the particulars. How are we as Christians to use the Old Testament Law? Number one, use it as a compass to plot your way. These ten principles that govern life, use them to plot your way, navigating your way through life, so number one as a compass. Number two, the law is a thermometer. When you look at the thermometer when you look at the law, it will gauge your love for God whether it's cold or hot. Jesus said, "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments." That's just a principle, if you love God, you'll keep his commandments. So you can use them as a gauge, a thermometer to see if you love God or not by your obedience to his commandments.
Number three, use the law as a mirror. When you look at the law, you look into a mirror and you go, "Yuck, I broken a lot of these things. All of these things." So it reveals the dirt. It's the spoon that stirs up the human nature. Use it as a mirror to reveal who you are, caution like I said last week. The mirrors not the soap, the mirrors not the soap. Forth way to use the law as a road sign.
It points you to Christ. You look in the mirror, "Yuck", now look at it as a road sign, it points you to Christ. It reveals the dirt but it points you to the showers. You want to get clean now? You can't get cleaned by the law. You can get cleaned by the mirror. You need the soap. The soap is not the law. The soap, the cleaning, the shower is Christ.
I'm going to close with one little tidbit of information. According to Jewish tradition, now because this tradition I can't verify it but according to Jewish tradition, Moses received the law the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai from God on the day Pentecost. Can't verify it but if it's true, it's fascinating because the birth of the church was Pentecost in the New Testament. And it's just sort of reinforces what it says in the gospel of John, "For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth has come through Jesus Christ the birthday of the church one pointing to the other in its fulfillment."
Let's pray, Father thank you for the privilege of gathering around that text, the book, the words of God. Thank you for what we've learned. Help us to apply it. Help us to run the race Lord and to look at these things as a compass to navigate these general, directions and principles in life. As a thermometer to gauge for hot or cold and our observance of these things because of our love for you, not because we have to but because we love the covenant God. I pray Lord that as we read the Old Testament and weeks to come, we would see it as a mirror the reveals that we have and kept it, that our lives are dirty and that are in need of cleansing. And then finally, they would point to us as a road sign to Christ. The law being our schoolmaster that pointed the way to Jesus Christ, the only one who can make us right with you by his shed blood.
And we thank you Lord for the covenant, we thank you that you have made a way for us to approach in the New Testament the new covenant through Jesus. Thank you Lord for a worship theme, thank you for Poema Lord and the way they administered to us tonight. And now help us Lord to have a supreme devotion for you and a supreme affection, a genuine affection for one another. In Jesus name, Amen.