Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 3, 2009

Deuteronomy 5:6-15

• God’s Covenant with Israel at Horeb | Deuteronomy 5:6-21

5:6 | God introduced and identified Himself by His name and by His historical act of redemption. First, God introduced Himself by name, “I am the Lord your God.” This introduction is personal and points to Israel’s relationship with God. Second, God identified Himself as Israel’s deliverer out of the house of Egyptian slavery. God took the initiative in redeeming His people from slavery. The people were to “hear … learn … observe” the word of a personal (not a distant and impersonal) God who delivered them from bondage.

• The Ten Commandments (1–4) | Deuteronomy 5:7-15

dore-ten-words5:7-15 | These verses are a restatement of the first four commandments of the Decalogue (see also Exodus 20:1-17). The first four commandments, or words, address man’s responsibility to love God.

First, the people were reminded that they were to have no other gods before (besides/against) God (5:7). These were important words to a people surrounded by nations involved in polytheistic worship. God alone was to be the object of their worship, devotion, and loyalty. They were to allow no other god to usurp His place in their hearts.

God alone is worthy of our deepest devotion and highest loyalty. | General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said the following when asked about the secret of his success. “From the day I got the poor of London on my heart and a vision for what Jesus Christ would do for them, I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was; and if anything has been achieved, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will and all the influence of my life.” Booth’s reply illustrates the kind of devotion and loyalty we should have toward God.

Second, the people were forbidden from making and worshiping any image representing God Himself (5:8-10). The first commandment concerns the object of worship. The second commandment concerns the means of worship. Jesus said, “God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Isaiah said, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?” (Isaiah 40:18; see also Isaiah 40:25 and 46:5). People through the centuries have attempted to make God in their own image. And, because children learn their first lessons about God in the home, parents should be careful regarding what they teach (through words and examples) about God because what they teach can impact future generations. John Maxwell comments that “the real danger of idolatry is that when one generation makes idolatrous choices, it becomes very easy for the next generation to go a step further with idolatry” (The Communicator’s Commentary, Volume 5).

Our influence can impact future generations. | The second commandment cautions parents to set the proper example in worship. A wrong example can have a far-reaching impact on future generations. Parents must not embrace any practice that will morally disorient their children.

Third, the people were prohibited from taking God’s name in vain. God’s name was often used in legal matters by those who could not prove or substantiate their claims. God would hold people accountable for misusing His name in such matters. In addition, God’s name was not to be used in association with any magic or casting of spells. The people were to reverently use God’s name.

God’s name should be hallowed not hollowed. | God’s name should not be used in a hollow, irreverent, or flippant manner. It should not be used in any way that is inconsistent with His character. As Jesus taught, we should hallow [to respect or honor as holy] God’s name (Matthew 6:9).

Fourth, the people were to observe and keep the sabbath day holy (5:12-15). The entire household was to observe the sabbath and cease from labor (note the inclusion of the animals in 5:14). The sabbath was to be a day of rest and reflection on God’s creative activity (Exodus 20:11), a day of remembrance of God’s mighty act of deliverance (5:15), and a day of worship.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming! | We live busy lives and deal with difficulties every day. The demands upon our time, energy, and resources often leave us feeling empty and dry. Observing the Lord’s Day can help restore our perspective, power, and pleasure in life. Sunday affords us the opportunity to slow down, look up, take in, and go out ready to face the challenges of another week.

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