Staying Blessed (Exodus 20:1-21)

Moses_on_Mount_Sinai_Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-1895-1900

During this pandemic we are practicing social distancing to stay healthy. In Exodus 20 the LORD speaks to Moses about how the people of God can stay blessed.

This guidance about how to stay blessed is called the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments serve three purposes. First, it serves as a curb to retrain sin and give order in the world. Second, it serves as a mirror to reflect our rebellion against God and drive us into his grace. Third, it serves as a guide so we will live a blessed life in the midst of a broken world.

The real source of health for living a blessed life here, with others, is our relationship with the LORD. The first commandment is the source of all others. “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:3)  We blow past this commandment all the time. We put all kinds of things on the top shelf of our lives rather than God. We put our jobs, our sex life, our family, our sports, our wealth, our politics, and on and on.

The reason the LORD comes first is that no other thing we worship and invest our lives in can create us or redeem us. “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of slavery” (Ex 20:2) We are warned that if we bow down or worship these graven images, these idols, it will harm us and our children. But the LORD also gives a promise if we honor and revere Him with our lives we know His love and blessing. Very simple.

The second command encourages us to use the Lord’s name for praise and worship and blessing, not cussing and cursing.

The third command promises us that if we will observe the Sabbath, a day of resting in the LORD, we will enjoy balanced lives. What is sad is that while we know that murder, adultery, stealing, false testimony and coveting are wrong and hurtful, we think nothing of breaking the Sabbath not recognizing the damage it does to us.

All the other seven commandments flow from the first three.

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and smoke on the mountain with Moses they trembled with fear. Moses told them not to be afraid for God wanted to speak to them to bless their lives.

They kept kept their distance from God. “Do not have God speak to us or we will die.” (Ex 20:19)  They would rather stay distant from God than die to sin and live a new life. As Luther once said, You cannot preach the Law and Gospel without offense and tumult.

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