The sixth Commandment deals with the unlawful killing of a human being with deliberate malice, either expressed or implied. But in Matthew 5:21, Jesus speaks about those whose anger towards others is subject to judgment also. Rage, wrath, or even resentment towards someone long-term can be almost as damaging as killing them outright …and living under that constant emotional strain of being victimized by someone else’s anger can make a person wish they’d just die and not have to endure it anymore. We don’t have to stab someone in the back to kill their Spirit…our angry words will do that.
The last six Commandments are focused on our relationship with others. I’ve heard it said that you can pick your friends…but you can’t pick you family. We can’t choose who gives us life, and maybe for some, it was a very difficult childhood growing up with parents that weren’t the best at it…or were absent all together. How then can we put our heads around the concept of respecting and esteeming someone who really doesn’t deserve to be honored. Showing respect to any other human-being shows our personal character and integrity, not necessarily theirs. By being that bigger person, we can move on to make our lives better. As it says, “Honor your mother and father, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long.”
The fourth Commandment is the last of the ten to focus on our relationship towards God. The Lord Himself started this tradition by resting from all His labors…”and on the Seventh day God abstained from work and rested.” The Sabbath needs to be a day of reflection and refreshment…a time of worship; being subject to God’s authority and trusting in Him to honor our obedience in keeping the day holy.
The first person I think of when it comes to the Third Commandment and taking the Lord’s name in vain is Job’s wife, who so infamously suggested to Job in the mist of all his suffering to, “Curse God and die!” Wrongly using God’s name does include profanity and cursing, but it also means just using His name lightly or without thinking. The Lord’s name should not be perverted, debased, or abused…He is God.
This verse is the second Commandment, and continues the same thought of idol worship…but the focus here is on the idols we create ourselves. Funny how idols can take on unique faces when we’re making them…these idols can be work or play related, they can revolve around amassing things or be very private and personal. But what the Lord wants us to remember is that these man-made idols are totally vain, worthless, and empty…and sadly will leave us feeling the same way in the end.
This is the first of what is called the Ten Commandments, and the Lord starts out with the most important directive to mankind…do not worship anyone or anything but Me. Do not follow another god, do not bow down, serve or sacrifice to it. The Lord demands that we remain faithful to Him alone, because as in Jeremiah 1:16 it says, “I will pronounce My judgments on My people because of their wickedness in forsaking Me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.” Our God is a jealous God, wanting our full devotion and love.
The Lord can not harden His heart against us, His children…He can not hold a grudge either for all our misdeeds we seem to do over and over. Rather, He finds pleasure in being kind and loving towards us…like a loving parent towards a little child. The Lord blots out completely our transgressions, and will remember our sins no more. The Prophet Micah was right to ask that awe-inspiring question…Who is a God like You?