“A Set Apart Life b”
II.) Vs. 16 The sanctity of truth
III.) Vs. 17 Sanctified desires
IV.) Vs. 18-21 The failure of fear
V.) Vs. 22-26 A pure & simple heart
God had taken 3 million folks out of bondage and brought them into a deserted place to tell them ten words. Ten simple words that if they apply in their lives will turn their bulbs on and light up the world. Jesus took those same ten words and reduced them to two:
- 2-11 = commandments 1-4 Love your God above anything or anyone. Or if you will make sure you are connected to the right power source.
- 12-17 = commandments 5-10 Love your fellow bulbs, I mean neighbor as your self. Or make sure that having been rightly connected to the power source you are properly connected to all other bulbs.
Having already gone through eight of these wiring instructions we have two more to cover then we shall look at two more things to check in case your bulb is still not lighting.
- 18-21 Make sure you are properly grounded.
- 22-26 Make sure there is no interference to the power source.
VI.) Vs. 16 The sanctity of truth
Vs. 16 One of the biggest differences between mankind and the animals is the gift of speech. Since the fall communication has been corrupted, falsehood and lying has been a problem. So God here says that if you are in love with Him then truth and communication will be set apart. Now specifically these commandment deals with truth in the context of a trial.
How Israel understood the 9th commandment:
The culture of Israel was vastly different then what we have now and this could be seen in the courts as well. In our country we have professionals who carry out our laws, police, and court officials. This was not the case in Israel there were no police officers, no prisons and society was not mobile. Those that committed a crime were your neighbors, so it became important to establish the basis of determining who was telling the truth. All violations were considered by the same court, there was no civil court and criminal court it was all the same. When a person was found guilty they either made restitution, paid for their crime with the loss of part of their body or it cost them their life. So the 9th commandment deals with those that would commit perjury. The truth is that God’s laws are perfect but men are not so there must be away to establish the truth of a witness so that justice can be rendered. On a broader perspective this commandment went outside the courtroom to where they lived and included:
- Slander: spreading a lie with intent to do harm
- Spreading rumors: repeating a report about a person without careful investigation.
- False witness: not saying something when someone utters something untrue about another.
Israel handled this was that the person who saw the crime must initiate the process. And in fact they were to cast the first stone in a capital case. Witnesses were put under oath. So they would do a through investigation to make sure that the person was guilty because if the witnessed had lied they would get the same punishment.
How the church understood the 9th commandment:
Jesus taught that as believer’s, truth ought to be the very least you can expect so that oaths were really unnecessary; truthfulness is to be our way of life. The apostles taught that those who did not tell the truth would suffer for it. Further more this was applied to those that would teach the Bible and to say things that would accommodate non-believers was to bear false witness of the truth. So much so we are encouraged in James to “let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”
How the 9th commandment relates to me:
The tongue is a powerful tool and it can be a curse or a blessing. True testimony is essential for the administration of justice and righteousness in our society. God requires truthfulness from us at all times and in every situation. So we need to speak the truth in love every time we open our mouths knowing that “every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Our lives as well as our words are a testimony of who God is. And the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Are we seeking to cover someone’s faults with love or share them with others?” When you speak of another you are speaking about their reputation so be careful!
VII.) Vs. 17 Sanctified desires
Vs. 17 The word covet means to “delight in”. Notice that delighting in is not evil or sinful in it’s self. Rather it is WHAT you are delighting in that causes you problems. The problem is when we “delight in” things that are not ours or not eternally beneficial. Whew, that gets me off the hook! No! Because all that you have is not yours but rather it is God’s’.
How Israel understood the 10th commandment:
Coveting is unique in that it deals with what a person feels rather then what a person does. You can not see a person covet, you can only see the results of their coveting. Coveting is a such a strong desire that the one who covets will do anything if possible to get it. I notice that, we only covet what others have and what I can not have. And the reason can I not have it is because it belongs to another his, house, wife, job, possession. So to look at this list you will find items that are specific which a neighbor can not give (his wife) or will not give (house, job, or possessions). Coveting is the desire to gain at another’s expense and by it’s very fact that nobody can see another covet it is concealed. So Israel saw this as a sin that often led to an outward actions of murder, adultery, stealing, lying. So here God tells them to deal with this in the heart before they manifest it outwardly.
How the church understood the 10th commandment:
Now, Jesus said that we are to “not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus understands that by the way He created us we are going to “delight in” that’s the way we are made. We are going to “lay up” for our self’s treasures the only question is where. Further more Jesus elaborates on why it is not good to lay up treasures here on earth. He say’s the problem is that the storage containers here on earth are no good. He says that the earth as a storage container is plagued by, bugs that will eat it up your treasures, rust that will corrode your treasures, or crooks that will steal them. Paul called coveting the root of sin and said that he would not of know what sin was except for the 10th commandment. The Jews had reduced the laws to outward things, but the 10th commandment was the attitude of the heart.
How the 10th commandment relates to me:
The truth is that what we “desire most” is what we value most. If we love our neighbor, we will not want what they have we will instead rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep. What you value most will determine what we are willing to give up? We will always sacrifice the lessor for the greater. Here is where we can covet or delight in, the Lord and His word. I did a word study on these words “delight in” and came up with some interesting things. Most often these words occur to tell us what not to delight in and to rebuke Israel because they did not delight in approaching God. Paul said, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul was delighting in the things the world regards as liabilities not assets, because he found that it was in those things that he gained that which was most precious, the Lord.
I have found that the more I am covetous the less likely inclined I am to give because I am consumed with getting and I can’t get if I’m giving. At the same time the more I delight in the Lord the more I’m inclined to give because it is in giving I obtain more of Him. Paul reminded the elders at Ephesus that while among them for three years he labored not taking anything from them. Then he quotes Jesus and says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It’s all a matter of what you delight in.
IV.) Vs. 18-21 The failure of fear
From verse 18 through chapter 23 we are in a section commonly called the “Book of the covenant”, it is Israel’s oldest law book. It contains the specific stipulations or ordinances between Israel and God, which is only summarized in the ten commandments. In this section you have the practical application of the Ten Commandments to specific situations. But before we get to the specifics in these chapters we get an indication to how Israel responded to just the general “ten words”.
Vs. 18 These guys were blown away by the presence of the Lord. It was an awesome sight and it terrified them. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. He is absolute 100% pure. And all of this was manifested outwardly in thundering, lightening, and smoke coming from, the mountain.
The Holiness of God, His perfection, reveals about us our imperfection and does not draw us closer to God it makes us stand afar off. God wanted these guys to know two things:
- He is holy.
- They are totally depraved.
And judging by their response here they got it. These guys realized how far short of God’s glory they were. If I compare myself with others I may not look to bad, but when I compare myself with perfection it does not matter if I’m a little closer then you are I’m still an eternity away.
These guys knew from the content of the law and the display of God’s glory that they were way short of God’s perfection. Go ahead a few thousand years and see how Israel latter on interpreted the law to make it a standard of righteousness. Paul would say of his former self prior to knowing Jesus he thought of himself, “concerning the righteousness, which is in the law, blameless.”
Vs. 19 They are afraid to come close to God, further more they don’t want God to even speak to them direct. Instead they want Moses to be the mediator between God and them. They want a go between someone to bridge the gap from God’s perfection and our imperfection. So Moses became a typology of Jesus which was fulfilled in the Jesus. Paul said to Timothy, “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” God’s holiness caused the nation to recognize that they need someone to bridge the gap. That’s what the law is suppose to do as we read in Gal. “the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ.”. The law brings us to the mediator! How sad it is today though when you see folks looking for another go between. The catholic church looking to Mary or one of the saints.
Vs. 20 Moses tells them that the law did what it was suppose to do bring them to fear God because of their sin, but it can’t keep them from sin for very long. In fact, before Moss even gives the specifics of the law in verse 24 he tells them that a sacrifice for sin is going to have to take place.
Fear may keep us from sin for awhile but it won’t last long. God had clearly told them not to worship idol’s yet in forty days they make an idol to worship instead of the Lord. Here is what we learn about ourselves through the failure of Israel:
- Fear is not a good motivation to holiness. Think of this in your own life, the fear of something can get you to stop for awhile but soon it wares off. Over eating, can shorten your life, but how many of us start diets then go off them, “just this once”?
- 21 Obedience out of love is the best motivator. Moss was no better then the rest of Israel yet he “drew near” where God was. Love drew Moses near to God, fear drew them away. Perfect love casts out fear we are told in 1 John. Moses was just a big a sinner as was the rest of Israel could draw near to the Lord, because of grace! Moses knew that he was guilty before God but he also knew that he was forgiven. If God wanted to wipe him out, He could have done it along time ago.
V.) Vs. 22-26 A pure and simple heart
Vs. 22-23 God goes right back to whom they are to worship and how they are to do so. The first four laws dealt with keeping your heart pure in worship towards the Lord. What we worship and how we worship will eventually effect every other area of your life. When God revealed Himself to them at Sinai they did not see any form because He knows that they would turn that form which represented a living God into a dead idol. The first thing we notice about how God would want us to worship Him deals simplicity. If you go back and look at the other nations around Israel, you will find a maze of ritual. All these complex religious things that people had to do to appease their dead idols. But not with God, keep it simple just worship me, not an idol that you make.
Vs. 24 Another thing we notice in this verse is that there was no specific location in which they were to worship God. “In every place where I record my name..’ The remembering of His name is tied to His blessing, but notice that it is He who will cause His name to be remembered. Notice that the alter of blessing is tied to sacrifice but not ours His. The purpose of the burnt offering was to atone for our sin, and the purpose of the peace offering or fellowship offering was so we could enjoy the presence of the Lord. And in all of this we see it is the Lord initiated this. God has simplified His worship by blessing us so much that we just want to sing His praises and we can do that any where at any time!
Vs. 25-26 Here are two things God say that will hinder our worship of Him:
- 25 Not putting a tool on the stone alter. Don’t glory in what you have done for the Lord. No matter how well meaning we are if we hew out an alter we soon begin to worship the alter instead of the Lord. What we do or have done for God ought never to be worshiped! God knows the tendency of our nature is to worship what we do for Him rather then what He has done for us. God wants us to be blown away by Him not some building or monument that was suppose to be fore God’s glory. Make the alter out of dirt, common ordinary dirt. That’s what God has done by placing His Holy Spirit in us these earthen vessels.
- 26 Now this was because they were robes and if they went up by steps they would have to hike up the robes and they would show their flesh. God does not want to see our flesh in worship.
Let me conclude by saying that anything that draws us away from worship to God is idolatry. Amazing section of scripture I pray that we may always keep our worship of Him simple, glorying in what He has done, and never in our own self effort!