Exodus 20, 1-3
Something to read
Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
‘Who are you to tell me what to do?’ might be a good descriptor of an underlying tone in our contemporary culture. ‘I’m free to do whatever I want any old time’ sing the Rolling Stones.
While most will accept the necessity of law and order, many resent the idea of rules and regulations that restrict personal freedoms. So commandments given by God may be even less attractive.
Yet even for a non-believer the '10 commandments' still retain a remarkable relevance, veracity and power, imbuing our constitution and civilisation with a Godly righteousness.
For those who love God and desire to live for Him, the commandments set out God’s expectation of how we should respond to His grace, articulating the right relationship between us and God, our families and neighbours – ‘our fellow man’.
They begin with the command to have no other god than Yahweh, ‘the One Who Always Is’; your God – living in personal relationship with His people; the rescuing, redeeming God who by gracious action saves His people.
It is in unadulterated devotion to Him and obedience to His commands that the people of God find true freedom.
Something to do
Reflect on how many rock and pop songs include lyrics about freedom – try looking them up on the internet. What are they communicating about ‘freedom’? What sort of ‘freedom’ do they describe?
Write down rules that you readily comply with – eg ‘No entry’ signs – and compare with those you find it easier to break or evade – eg speed limits. What does that tell you about yourself – are you naturally rule-conscious and dutiful, or do you tend to be more expedient and non-conforming?
Something to pray
Lord, you have given us your precious laws
and told us to obey them faithfully;
help us to love them, learn them and live by them
that we may give ourselves completely to You,
our gracious, redeeming God.
Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.