Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 2:1-11:32
My apologies to those of your following my ramblings here. I left this post blank to do a test to see where my blog traffic was coming from, to see if people were really reading these or if I was just getting spam crawlers. The conclusion? Spam crawlers. That made me sad. But I'm going to keep posting anyway because in the end I am doing this for me.
So today we're looking at the nation of Israel as they are about to enter "the promised land". Chapters 2 and 3 recount their wanderings in the desert. In chapter 4 Moses starts reviewing "the law". He mentions the Ten Commandments.
They were first named "the Ten Commandments" in Exodous chapter 34. Moses had gone back to the mountain after the episode with the gold calf and with God made new tablets.
But Moses also mentions, in the same breath "statues and rules". So along with "the big ten" are other rules that need to be followed.
And as he starts talking about the commandments and rules, he doesn't start with the Ten, but rather gives guidance regarding idolatry. No statues, no carved images, nothing that takes the place of God. Moses pleads with the people to not forget the wonders they have seen, to not forget that they were taken care of by God and not some statue. To remember that they were CHOSEN in a way that no other God has done for any other people.
Then he says "ok, so here's what I'm talking about" (me paraphrasing, not actually what he said). And he lays down the law.
Can you name the Ten Commandments? Recite them from memory? I learned them a long time ago, but I can't recall them without looking them up.
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
- 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.
- Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
- Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
- You shall not murder.
- And you shall not commit adultery.
- And you shall not steal.
- And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
But after giving these 10, Moses reminds them of the GREATEST COMMANDMENT, and it is this:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Bigger than anything else, more important than any other rule, Love God.
Moses continues, in very poetic words, telling the people to keep the commandments, rules, and statues because God loves them and loves them when they keep His commandments. And not to fear the people in the land they are about to enter. Also warning them that when the get fat and comfortable in their new homes not to forget the only reason they are fat and comfortable is because God took care of them. Pleads with them to stop being stubborn.
Over and over and over Moses says "Keep the commandments, keep all the commandments". It's as if he knows what will become of these people that he's led for so long....
Tomorrow's Reading: Deuteronomy 12:1-23:14