The 10 Commandments

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After Moses had delivered Israel from the oppressive rule of the Pharaoh, he was summoned to the isolation of Mount Sinai where the Lord gave him the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Over the next 40 or so years, Israel at times was obedient (and received blessings) and at other times was disobedient (and did not receive blessings).  Much of their “success” in the wilderness was dependent upon their obedience to the Laws of God.

I want my children to know that the Ten Commandments are just that…commandments.  They’re not suggestions, good ideas, or requests.  They are commandments.  Nothing in the history of the gospel has ever displaced these foundational laws of God.

I. Though shalt have no other Gods before me.

Nothing in our life comes before God. Not a job, a hobby, a vacation…nothing. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ teaches us to “…seek…first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

Sometimes we fool ourselves by saying we have no graven images in our life when, in fact, we fail to see what is right before our eyes. So often we associate this commandment with the golden calf Israel forged during their wanderings. I believe the world is full of graven images today.  To me, a graven image is anything that distracts my attention and devotion of worship from Jesus Christ. When we care more about our cars, homes, and clothes than we care for the poor and needy…we may have a graven image.  When we skip church to attend a leisure activity…we may have a graven image.  When we devour books of all kinds, but fall asleep as soon as the Scriptures open…we may have a graven image.

Spencer W. Kimball once said:

“There are unfortunately millions today who prostrate themselves before images of gold and silver and wood and stone and clay. But the idolatry we are most concerned with here is the conscious worshipping of still other gods. Some are of metal and plush and chrome, of wood and stone and fabrics. They are not in the image of God or of man, but are developed to give man comfort and enjoyment, to satisfy his wants, ambitions, passions and desires. Some are in no physical form at all, but are intangible.”

quoted in “Refusing to Worship Today’s Graven Images

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Of all the commandments, this is perhaps the most easily and frequently violated.  I once heard a Christian talk radio host comment about the phrase “oh my —.”  Someone had called him out for taking the name of the Lord in vain.  He went on a rant justifying his action by leaning on his Christianity.

Do not use the name of God in vain, or, to reverse the commandment, do use the name of God only when you intend to speak to Him or about Him. Gordon B. Hinckley shared several examples of this commandment in a talk titled “Take Not the Name of God in Vain.”

IV. Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy.

I’ve written a previous blog on the Sabbath Day.  This is the day of the Lord.  It is a day when we are to set aside our pleasures and our work and focus on Jesus Christ and His work.  It’s not a day to idle away doing nothing…it is a day to visit the widow and fatherless, administer to the sick, lift up the weak in spirit, and strengthen family bonds.

V. Honor thy father and mother.

The increased delinquency, disrespect, insubordination, and laziness in the world today has as part of its foundation a lack of respect and honor for parents. When children learn in the home that Mom and Dad aren’t the ultimate authority of right and wrong, they begin to believe that authority comes from within instead of from the common rule in society. In other words, by disrespecting Mom and Dad in their youth, children will be more likely to disrespect the authority of law later in life.

This is not the same thing as those who work within the legal framework of their city/state/country to incite change with a goal of creating a better world for all to live. I look in awe to those who have the courage to stand up against tyranny and oppression (even at the risk of property and life).

VI. Thou shalt not kill.

How can this be stated any more clearly? Of all the Ten Commandments, this is the one that is universally accepted by the natural man. If only we would accept the other nine with as much certainty.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

It’s interesting this comes right after “thou shalt not kill.” Once upon a time, it was as wrong to commit adultery as it was to kill.  Today, marital fidelity is laughed at, mocked, and openly scorned. Men not only look at women with lust in their eye, they openly talk about things that should happen only between a man and wife who are legally and lawfully married. Christ made it clear that you don’t have to commit a physical act to be guilty of adultery: “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

VIII. Thou shalt not steal.

This is another interesting commandment. Most people agree that stealing is wrong, but at the same time, so many people take the attitude that if they can get away with it, it’s ok. I find it curious that so often those who are protesting against oppression find it acceptable to loot and steal.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

So many of the other commandments are covered up by breaking this commandment.  So often we see a guilty party attempt to transfer the guilt of their crime to another by lying. We’ve all read the news reports of men cleared after serving years in prison once a false accusation came to light.

Tell the truth.

X. Thou shalt not covet.

If you want something in life, then work for it.  If you want a better car, then save the money. If you want to take a trip, then plan for it. Set goals and work to achieve those goals. It won’t always be easy, but it is possible. Ben Carson overcame the odds. Nelson Mandela overcame the odds. You can be wildly successful through hard work.


The Ten Commandments are still very much in full force. Have the courage to stand up for what’s right. Say what you mean and do what you say. Remember God always and let His light so shine before you (Matthew 5:16).

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Obedience

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source: Pinterest

I feel like the last few posts have been influenced by the events of the world around me.  While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, today I feel prompted to return to one of the more fundamental principles of the gospel: obedience.

 

In a world of self-actualization, self-serving, fast food, fast cars, and “have it your way“, one might be tempted to ask why obedience matters at all.  Especially obedience to anyone or anything besides our own desires.  Christ taught his disciples “If ye love me, keep my commandments…He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:15, 21).  Now, this does presuppose that a person has a desire to love Christ and be loved by Him and God the Father.

One of the great stories about obedience from the scriptures is that of Daniel and his 3 friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah).  When they were young men, they were taken from their homes and put in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.  While there, the King fed them his best food meat and his best wine.  Daniel and his friends though, were desirous to be obedient to the word of the Lord.  He requested they be given pulse, which is generally accepted to be grains, seeds, and vegetables.

After ten days, these four young men were stood beside the Chaldeans.  Because of Daniel’s obedience to God’s health code, they were blessed with skin that was fatter and fairer than those who ate the kings meat and drank the kings wine.  (Daniel 1).

I’m not suggesting that we should follow the same diet, rather, this story teaches us that obedience to the commandments of God will bring blessings.  It also teaches us that it’s not always going to be easy to be obedient.  Daniel and his friends were young men in the Court of a foreign king and they had to stand up for their beliefs.  Sometimes it’s tough sticking up for your beliefs, but the Lord will bless you when you are obedient.

A key factor in being obedient is first being knowledgeable.  It is impossible for a person to obey commandments, laws, and rules that they do not know about.  Imagine driving down a road and getting pulled over by the police for speeding, yet there were no speed limit signs on the road.  So it is with the commandments of God.  We must first learn the commandments, then we can better obey them.  Stephen R. Covey shares a similar principle in his Fifth Habit of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” We must first learn the commandments through diligent study of the word of God.

We should be obedient with our whole being.  In Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians, he says, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” In other words, it’s not enough to simply obey with your words…to obey with a grudging heart.  In order to truly be obedient to God’s Word, you need to be all in. You need to be committed to obedience.  Then you will receive the blessing of the Lord.

Let me get specific.  What do I want my children to be obedient to?

  • The Rules of the House. The Fifth Commandment is: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” By learning to first obey the rules of the home, I believe children will have a better chance of becoming citizens that are able to obey the rules of the land.
  • The Laws of the Land.  The Twelfth Article of Faith states: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” We have an obligation to be obedient to the laws and rules passed by our leaders.  At the same time, I believe we have an obligation to influence those laws and rules for the better.  We must be active participants to try and get honorable, wholesome, and meaningful laws passed.  If there are laws we disagree with, we should do everything we can to get them changed.
  • The Commandments of God. Jesus was asked by a young lawyer which of the commandments was the greatest.  “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36–40). There are many commandments to obey, but the first and greatest is to love the Lord and to love our neighbor.  How can we love our neighbor when we are constantly speaking ill of them?  There is a disease afflicting society today…a disease called digitalis-anonymititus (yes, I just made that up).  It is the belief that it’s ok to say anything we want from behind our computer keyboard.  We mustn’t forget who our neighbor is:

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Luke 10:25-37

Obedience to the commandments brings blessings from the Lord.  These blessings bring increased happiness and a desire to obey the Lord.  It is a never-ending circle that leads to peace in this life and an eternity of joy with our Father in Heaven. Don’t give in to society’s teachings that we need only obey those laws and commandments that we want to.  Obey the Lord with exactness. Obey the laws of the land (and work to change them when they are wrong). Obey your parents and others who have stewardship over you.

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