Meditation: Exodus 20 (1 of 2)

Reading: Exodus 20:1-17

The 10 commandments summarise God’s covenant law; the Bible provides more details about the law and its application.

Example 1: In Exodus to Deuteronomy Moses expands on and explains how the Law is to be applied. About the sixth commandment (you shall not kill) we read “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it” (Deuteronomy 22:8).

Example 2:  Jesus says about the sixth commandment in Matthew 5:21-22: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

Example 3: The Ten Commandments contain both prohibitions and positive requirements. The Heidelberg Catechism (LD 40) says about the sixth commandment: “I am not to dishonour, hate, injure, or kill my neighbour by thoughts, words, or gestures, and much less by deeds, whether personally or through another; rather, I am to put away all desire of revenge. Moreover, I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself. By forbidding murder God teaches us that He hates the root of murder, such as envy, hatred, anger, and desire of revenge, and that He regards all these as murder (I John 3:15). [In this commandment] God commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves, to show patience, peace, gentleness, mercy, and friendliness toward him, to protect him from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.” (For evidence see Bible texts referred to in LD 40.)

When we study the Bible we gain a deeper understanding of God’s good Law.

Key text: Exodus 20:1-2a “And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the LORD your God’”.

Question: The ninth commandment reads “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” What is the positive requirement of this commandment?