And God gave Moses The Ten Commandments……..
(1) You shall have no other Gods before Me – this includes Farmville and Candy Crush
(2) You shall not have idols – for you fashionistas and metros out there this includes Louis Vuitton.
(3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain – Is saying “Jesus Christ” taking God’s name in vain? I guess that depends on whether you believe Jesus is actually God. Discuss.
(4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy – Okay, I’m confused. Which Sabbath Day – Friday evening to Saturday evening or, just all day Sunday? Can someone please clear this up? Oh, and can I still shop online even if I have to sit in the house and be “holy.”
(5) Honor your father and your mother – even when they keep telling you that you broke their hearts when you didn’t go to law school?
(6) You shall not murder – see number 5
(7) You shall not commit adultery – okay let’s get this straight once and for all. Does this mean “thinking” about it or “doing” it. Also, does this include porn? What about cyber sex?
(8) You shall not steal – not even pens or post-it notes from the office supply cabinet? Crap.
(9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor – my neighbor is a psycho who watches our every move with binoculars. God may love him but the rest of us think he’s an asshole.
(10) You shall not covet. That’s fine. I don’t want my neighbor’s tractor, his smelly goats or his horny bull – I have enough problems. If he drove a Mercedes or a Bimmer this Commandment might be a problem for me. (And yes, it’s spelled B-I-M-M-E-R for cars and for motorcycles it’s spelled B-E-E-M-E-R or B-E-A-M-E-R. You’re welcome – I’m always happy to share my knowledge)
As a child I grew up with vivid images from the epic movie, The Ten Commandments. It just wouldn’t be Passover if I didn’t watch Charleton Heston portray Moses. To add to the amazing visuals on the screen, I always had my grandmother’s larger than life image looming in the forefront of my brain. I recall one Passover in particular. I could see my grandmother’s 4′-nothing menacing presence standing in the kitchen. One hand was on her hip and the other was waving a large wooden paddle (She says spoon, I say paddle). Her face was a thundercloud. Coincidentally, she looked like Moses just before he parted the Red Sea. She thwarted my attempt to be nice to my little sister by swooping in and snatching the candy bar I had just given her. (Who takes candy from little kids?) My grandmother had already cleaned the house with a madwoman-like frenzy in order to remove any chametz that may have been lingering in the corners of her home and here I was bringing more in. Uh oh.
According to my grandmother, (she thought she was God’s secretary) God said that Chametz was a very bad thing on Passover. (That’s because God had never eaten my grandmother’s farfel stuffing. Years later when I had a colonoscopy, the doctor found some of that stuffing still clinging to the walls of my intestines). My grandmother never raised a hand to hit me; Jews mostly use guilt to keep their kids in line. But, on that day, I really thought she was going to clobber me on the head because I brought that “unclean” food into her home.
Later in life, I began to contemplate exactly why God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. When I was a kid, I’m sure if I had asked my grandmother, she would have had a fantastic tale to tell. But, I was beginning to doubt that her historical and biblical explanations were accurate. I remember telling her I wanted a Christmas tree. Of course, she said, no. Actually, she said, “Du farkirtst mir di yorn”. (you’ll be the death of me) Then, she went on to say that originally, Jews began the tradition of having Christmas trees but the goyim stole that custom. Therefore, Jews could no longer have trees. Oh. (What else do you even say to that?)
Having fled Egypt with the help of God, the Israelites traveled through the desert for approximately 3 months until they reached the base of Mt. Sinai. God called Moses up onto the mountain to give him the laws for righteous living for God’s chosen people. God intended that the people He rescued from Egypt would become a holy nation of priests for Him. He would give them Commandments to follow. These Commandments would be God’s Law for the people and they would summarize the spiritual and moral living that God intended for them.
The Ten Commandments are most certainly Divine guidance for living. However, receiving and obeying them should not be the end of the story. The goal is for humans to abide the Ten Commandments in order to purify themselves enough to be able to enter into a mutual relationship of love and trust with God – to reach a place where our hearts are consumed with love for Him. God said that He is the “I Am Presence.” This means that we are one with God; He resides within each of us.
If we simply look at the Ten Commandments as something we have to obey “or else,“we are cheating ourselves of the Divine connection God wishes to have with each of us. We then allow the negative mentality of “judgement” in our hearts, which, I don’t believe, was God’s intention.
God looks at our motives. If they are pure, our actions will align in our hearts where God resides. Those who walk the Earth to be seen as men of righteousness simply because they follow God’s written law, are usually, in my opinion, hypocrites. It is my belief that although God wrote His laws on stone tablets, His intention was to burn those laws in our hearts to make us holy from within – to be accountable to ourselves.
In the Bible, God commands us to study His word. I think, however, the way in which we receive this Word makes all the difference in our lives. At the time of Jesus, The Pharisees were known for their strict observance of the Law. They were zealots about keeping God’s Commandments, yet Jesus, (a Jew) constantly rebuked them for the evil in their hearts. The Pharisees show us that it is possible to know the laws of God, but without the action of the heart, without the love of God from within, it is not enough.
We can study His word in-depth and still be self-righteous. We must be acutely aware that in our effort to keep the Law of God, even down to the tiniest details, the temptation is greater to judge and to condemn those who are not doing the same. Though the Pharisees stringently kept the Law of God, they sure missed point. They were so absorbed with their own self-righteousness that they didn’t love other people. If they didn’t love other people how could they love God? If we strive to obey God’s laws to the point where we feel superior to others, then we have already broken those laws.
There are those who study Scripture very diligently. Sometimes these are the people who are the greatest stumbling blocks to those who seek the truth.
Scripture is very powerful! It has the ability to work good in our lives as much as it can work negativity in our lives. It is my belief that when reading scripture, we should apply those words to ourselves and not to others. God wants us to look inside of our own hearts to understand the messages He brings to us. If you want understanding and knowledge, open your heart. God, who already resides there, will give it to you. Ask and ye shall receive. It’s that simple.
Instead of giving us the Ten Commandments, I think it would have been much easier if God just said……………….
THOU SHALT NOT BE A DICK