Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know, Part 3
Doug Jacoby continues his third Lesson of Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know. I hope you enjoy these Old Testament lessons.
Up the Mountain (and soon, Down)
The first two O.T. passages good for all Christians to know are Gen 2:24 and 22:2. (If you missed them, see the previous newsletters, on One flesh and Sacrifice Our Firstborn?) The next two passages are from Exodus.
There are many parts of Exodus informed Christians are familiar with—Burning Bush, Passover, Manna, Kingdom of Priests, and many more (chapters 3, 12, 16, 19). But today we focus on the Ten Commandments (20:3-17).
Moses goes up Mt. Sinai, where he receives the "Ten Words." (Next week we will see what happened once he comes back down.) Notice how this central portion of Scripture begins:
And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Exod 20:1-2).
The 10 Commandments—also called the Ten Words, or Decalogue—are more than a dry list of Dos and Don'ts.
Yes, they are commands, yet the context is one of relationship and gratitude. Recently rescued from the land of slavery, God's people ought to be thankful, aware that Yahweh wants them to be not slaves, nor slavish rule-keepers, but his joyful sons and daughters.
The commands are prefaced with a reminder of where the Israelites had come from. Is this not also helpful for us Christians? "Whoever does not [keep growing] is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins" (2 Peter 1:9). Remembering where we came from also makes the Lord's Supper powerful (1 Col 11:26).
Half the commands would have been profoundly surprising in the ancient world, such as limiting worship to one deity, rejecting idols, and honoring God in a special way for an entire day each week (nos.1, 2, and 4). Israel following these commands would create a community of radical counter-culture and witness to the true God.
Nearly four decades later, the Decalogue is given for a second time (Deut 5:7-21)—for a new generation (5:3). Note that "Deuteronomy" is from the Greek for "second [giving of the] law."
Next: Chaos in the Camp (Exodus 32), a look at what happened down below while Moses was receiving the law—another key passage in the Old Testament.