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Ten Commandments (1 of 6)

Shane Willard

Page 4 of 10
So the Lord spoke all these words saying: “I am the Lord your God”. The people that were listening to this - how would they have heard it? Who were they? What was their background? What sequence of events led up to this incredible event?

The people at the bottom of that mountain were slaves for 430 years. A 430-year heritage of slavery; 430 years of your opinion not mattering; 430 years of getting up every day at sun up and making bricks - hopefully enough bricks to keep yourself from getting killed. You get up every day: you make bricks; you go to bed. Seven days a week; 12 hours a day; 365 days a year - day in and day out.

You were treated with no dignity. You were a slave. You were less than human. If an Egyptian soldier wanted your wife, they just came in and raped her. There was no repercussions whatsoever; no thought to your dignity; no thought to the fact that you were even human. You were less than human. If they wanted something of yours, they just took it. If they wanted to kill, you they killed you, no repercussion. Moses only got in trouble because he killed an Egyptian, not because he killed a Hebrew.

These people had no human rights; so when you think of the Ten Commandments as a whole, I want you to think of it in terms of: a group of slaves learning how to be human again. God is trying to teach a group of people (and all they knew was slavery): this is how to be human.

He's also trying to create a culture that's going to have His way to live - so the whole world would look at what they have, and want it. He's trying to create the world's best culture. He's trying teach a group of slaves, after 430 years of slavery: this is how you be human.

It's also a wedding proposal: God proposing marriage to a group of people.

For 430 years, slavery was all they knew, and here's what they hear: “Thou shalt not kill”. Are any of them going: “oh no, that's the law”? No, everyone's going: wait a minute - in our new culture - you can't kill me, just because you're stronger than me?

Wait a minute, in our new culture, you mean that he has to respect the basic dignity as a human being God gave me? That he has to actually respect the image of God in me - that's how we're going to do this thing? That is fantastic!

Murder is the light sin; the heavy sin is actually believing someone's worth less than you. The heavy sin, is a belief that says: someone else isn't worth as much as you are. That's the heavy sin! So in our new culture, we're going to respect the basic human dignity?

Can you imagine: “Thou shalt not steal”? No one's thinking: “that's the law - we're being put under bondage, no, no, no”. They just got out of bondage.

God is not trying to make you good; God is trying to make you free. Make you good? Good compared to who - Him? No way, come on. He's trying to free slaves. He's trying to free people, when all they knew was: bondage and slavery. He's trying to free them to be human again.

“Thou shalt not steal” - no one's thinking: “hey, that's the law”; everyone's thinking: “wait a minute - in our new culture - you can't take things from me, just because you can? That is awesome!”

Can you imagine, all you knew was 430 years of slavery, and you hear: “Thou shalt take a day off”? Can you imagine that?

We haven't had a day off in 430 years; and He's actually commanding us to have a day, where we remind ourselves that our worth doesn't come from how many bricks we make? That is fantastic!

“Thou shalt not lie” - wait a minute, in our new culture, we actually have to have integrity in our business dealings?

I mean, if you know anything about sociology, you know that once a culture (or a country) becomes rampant with murder and theft and corruption in business dealings, the whole economy goes down the tubes - because no one wants to do business with you.

God is not trying to make people good, He's trying to make people free.

Main Message

For the rest of this first session, I want to talk to you about a wedding proposal. The Ten Commandments, Hebrew people call it a 10-word Ketubah.