Reading through the Bible together

Friday, September 21, 2012

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The Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 are repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The context is a covenant between God and His people, and is preceded by reminding Israel of the miraculous, amazing deliverance God gave them from Egypt. God said, “I am the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (vs. 6-7). Who would want any other god when the only God in the universe easily destroyed the greatest military power in the then known world? When Israel stood trapped at the Red Sea, God opened up a path of rescue, and then closed the sea drowning Pharaoh’s mighty army. That is why Israel’s failure to move swiftly to occupy the promised land, because of the giants, was such an affront to God’s ability. Only days before God marvelously delivered them, how could they forget so soon? What incredible lack of faith and trust!


The fourth commandment of Sinai said “remember” God as Creator (Exod. 20:8-11). He is the only God, there is none other. He told His people to have nothing to do with gods made by humans. It is the Sabbath that reminds Israel, both ancient and modern, that God is the Creator. The Sabbath is a memorial of creation and should keep modern Israel from looking to the “god” of evolution. But there is something else to remember for ancient and modern Israel: “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm, therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath” (v. 15). Saved from the slavery of Egypt and the slavery of sin is a reminder that the Creator is also the Redeemer. Israel needed a constant reminder, so God imbedded the meaning of salvation in each seventh-day Sabbath. The Sabbath reminds ancient and modern Israel that God alone is the Creator, and God alone is the Redeemer.


God creates and redeems humans as an act of deepest love. He yearns for communion with all Israel, ancient and modern; not formalism but intimate relationship. That is why God, with longing pathos sighed, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear [reverence] Me and always keep all My Commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever” (v. 29). God longs to have a heart relationship with you today, so that you can rest in the fact that He is your Creator and Redeemer, so you will not be overwhelmed by anything. The one who keeps you is the only one who helps you keep His commandments and enjoy a heart relationship with Him.


Norman Gulley

Southern Adventist University