Exodus 20:1-20 – And God spoke all these words: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet."
In Hebrew, the first commandment begins with, "I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of slavery." Those words aren't just an introduction to more important things. The ten words of love start with words of relationship. Words of freedom.
When we think about rules and commandments, we don't think of freedom. We think of limits, of control. Many of the laws we know have to do with organizing people into categories, and keeping some people away from others.
These commandments are different. They don't make sense apart from a relationship with God. Apart from that relationship the ten commandments are burdens, heavy burdens of restriction and requirement.
Living by the ten words of love takes a lifetime of commitment, in relationship with God. Striving to honour the words and obey the spirit of the commandments. Looking seriously at all of life, and each situation in life, to see how the words apply.
Prayer: Loving God, help me to honour your law and keep your commandments as I live in covenant partnership with you. Amen.