Focus reading: Exodus chapters 18- 20
Chapter 20 begins with Moses receiving the 10 commandments.
Moses climbs to the top of Mt. Sinai. It is here that he meets with God Himself. God gives Moses 2 stone tablets- each containing commandments written by GOD'S OWN HAND!
This is AMAZING! God Himself wrote the commandments down for His children to read! God's own hand writing only takes place 4 times in the Bible:
In His Own Hand
A look at the four times God wrote in His own hand.
- Law: Ten Commandments. Exodus 20: 1-17
- Judgment: King Belshazzar feast, handwriting on the wall. Daniel 5
- Forgiveness: Accusation of the adulteress, Jesus writes on the ground. John 8: 1-11
- Life: The Book of Life, writes the names. Revelation 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19 (Exodus 32:32-33; Psalms 69:28; Psalms 87:6; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3)
These stone tablets were kind of like "Israel's Constitution" authored by the Lord Himself! God had led His children out of captivity. The Israelites were about to become a GREAT nation. God Himself was their "government" - He was using the two stone tablets to establish the grounds on which His new nation would be built!
As I continue reading about these very important words of God, I am bothered by something- the word commandments. It sounds so negative and harsh to me. It surely DOES NOT sound very loving. I KNOW that God is LOVE. I also KNOW that everything God does is out of LOVE. I need Him to SHOW me His love in the commandments! That one harsh word makes me visualize a very strict, UNLOVING dictator. I DO NOT want to visualize my Lord as a DICTATOR. As I study and pray I realize something amazing- the commandments aren't HARSH RESTRICTIONS- they are RELATIONSHIP STEPS!
The 10 commandments are one more example of just how much God truly LOVES us!
Lesson in 3 parts:
History behind the 10 Commandments
Their Connection to Happiness
Their Importance to Us Today
History of the 10 Commandments
The Original Wording:
Our Bible was not always contained in one leather-bound book. At one time it only existed written on various scrolls. These ancient scrolls were translated and compiled into the Bible that we have today. The scrolls containing the first 5 books of the Bible were called the Torah. In the original wording of theTorah, the word "commandments" is not mentioned.
According to: http://www.jewfaq.org/10.htm
The 10 commandments were originally called either Aseret ha-D'varim or Aseret ha-Dibrot. The words d'varim and dibrot come from the Hebrew root Dalet-Beit-Reish, meaning word, speak or thing. This means "the 10 commandments" is more accurately translated as the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, or even the Ten Things, but not as The Ten Commandments.
Seeing the ORIGINAL wording of the Torah made me feel better! :)
The 10 "Statements" ALL centered around RELATIONSHIPS
The Importance of the Two Tablets
from : http://www.jewfaq.org/10.htm
The Two Tablets: Duties to God and Duties to People
Judaism teaches that the first tablet, containing the first five declarations, identifies duties regarding our relationship with God, while the second tablet, containing the last five declarations, identifies duties regarding our relationship with other people.
These two tablets are parallel and equal: duties to God are not more important than duties to people, nor are duties to people more important than duties to God. However, if one must choose between fulfilling an obligation to God and fulfilling an obligation to a person, or if one must prioritize them, Judaism teaches that the obligation to a person should be fulfilled first. This principle is supported by the story in Genesis 18, where Abraham is communing with God and interrupts this meeting to fulfill the mitzvah of providing hospitality to strangers (the three men who appear). The Talmud gives another example, disapproving of a man who, engrossed in prayer, would ignore the cries of a drowning man. When forced to choose between our duties to a person and our duties to God, we must pursue our duties to the person, because that person needs our help, but God does not need our help.
Their Connection to Happiness
As I continued studying Exodus chapter 20, I continued to pray for wisdom. I felt that I was missing something HUGE about the 10 statements. I knew they all centered around RELATIONSHIPS, but what was I missing? What did any of this have to do with LOVE?? I felt that God was trying to reveal something to me. At that point, He led me to conduct some research. I opened my computer and was nudged to google happiness.
I typed in the words, “keys to happiness”. Guess what I found?
I found website after website listing the 10 KEYS to HAPPINESS!!!
Notice, they each had 10!!!!
10 keys to happiness- 10 commandments…. see the irony???!!!???
It made me giggle!!!
GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!
He is and was the ORIGINAL author of HAPPINESS!
Because God LOVES us He is providing us with His guidelines that lead to TRUE HAPPINESS!!
Here are the basic “Keys to Happiness"
1. MEANING -Be part of something bigger
2. GIVING- Do things for others
3. RELATING- Connect with people
4. EXERCISING- Take care of your body
5. APPRECIATING- Notice the world around
6. TRYING OUT- Keep learning new things
7. DIRECTION- Have goals to look forward to
8. RESILIENCE -Find ways to bounce back
9. EMOTION- Take a positive approach
10. ACCEPTANCE- Be comfortable with who you are
Now HERE are the 10 Commandments:
The 10 Commandments List, Short Form
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
Connection to Us Today
There is a HUGE connection between the " 10 Keys to Happiness"and the 10 the Commandments????
Both of them deal with RELATIONSHIPS!
Staying Healthy and Developing Healthy Relationships is the theme behind both! Keeping us focused on something (or someone bigger - GOD) is the main key- it gives us MEANING! All the others show us how to develop healthy connections- both with ourselves and with others!
We are relational beings. God created us to connect with each other. He knows that developing and maintaining LOVING relationships is where TRUE HAPPINESS and LOVE comes from!