The #1 Reason Christians Need to Revisit the Ten Commandments

The Israelites didn't treasure God's Ten Commandments like they should have, and they suffered greatly for this choice. Are we repeating their mistake? | Christianity | Church Growth | Foundations of the Faith | Old Testament Studies | Law vs. Grace | Christian Woman | Grow Your Faith | Bible Study

When was the last time you thought about the Ten Commandments?

I mean, really thought about them…

God’s words, carved on stone by His own hand, a gift to His chosen people.

I sometimes wonder what it was like to be one of the Israelites rescued from the house of slavery by the undeniable strength of Almighty God.

Just three months after crossing the Red Sea on dry land and watching the torrent wipe out my masters, I find myself in the Wilderness of Sinai.

I’m tired.
I’m fearful.

My leader has gone up the mountain to talk with his God, who is still a mystery to me.

Sure, I’ve heard the stories of my ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But they are just stories, right?

All I’ve ever known is the yoke of slavery.

Abuse.
Degradation.
Injustice.

If God loved me so much, why did He allow me to suffer for so long before rescuing me?

And now, our great leader has gone up the mountain to speak with his God and I fear he’ll never return.

Moses and this Yahweh brought me out to this desert—a strange and unfamiliar land—and now they have both deserted me.

Maybe Egypt wasn’t so bad a place after all?

Now that I think of it, I miss Egypt. The bright colors, the cozy quarters, the tasty food.

Everything familiar and safe has been stripped from my life and I am lost.

And I’m not the only one longing for Egypt.

I hear they’ve convinced Aaron to build a golden calf. They also fear Moses isn’t coming back.

Maybe I’ve mistakenly declared my allegiance to a calloused and uncaring God.

Maybe we’d all be better off returning to Egypt. Running back to the familiar.

I must constantly remind myself the Bible is full of stories of real people relating to a real God.

People just like you and me. Men and women with problems, fears, and insecurities.

They carry the past on their shoulders and sometimes fear overpowers their faith.

These characters remind me that faith isn’t prim and proper—simple black ink on the white pages of my Bible.

Faith is a technicolor word. A tie dye concept.

It’s colorful, messy, and complex.

Faith demands we trust what we cannot see, believe what we cannot confirm, and venture into the desert when every cell in our body is longing for Egypt.

In order to walk by faith, we must find courage to believe it’s better to follow God into the desert than return to slavery.

I’ve spent the last eight months reading the Old Testament. (I’ve been working my way through this Blue Letter Bible reading plan since January.)

As I’ve tried to understand God’s complex relationship with the wandering Israelites, I’ve been convicted by how my own….

Heart often rebels against the words of God (Psalm 107:11)
Spirit is not faithful to God (Psalm 78:8)
Ears are not willing to listen to God (Ezekiel 20:8)
Mind fails to remember God’s wondrous deeds (Nehemiah 9:16-31)

When I really think about it, I’m not so different from the former slaves who grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

The Israelites didn't treasure God's Ten Commandments like they should have, and they suffered greatly for this choice. Are we repeating their mistake? | Christianity | Church Growth | Foundations of the Faith | Old Testament Studies | Law vs. Grace | Christian Woman | Grow Your Faith | Bible Study

I long for ease and comfort. I worship created things rather than the Creator. I have a wandering heart and achy feet.

I am an Israelite.

And I desperately need God to lead me through this desert and into the promised land.

I need the words carved on stone by the hand of God; words meant to separate and sanctify God’s people.

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments because He loved the people of Israel.

He wanted to set them apart unto Himself, so that no nation on earth could deny the power and provision of the God of Israel.


The Ten Commandments


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.


Had they only followed these simple commands. Trusted these simple instructions. Applied these simple truths.

They’d have been spared much heartache—much pain and confusion in the desert.

And I wonder, sweet friend, if the same could be said about us?

The Israelites didn't treasure God's Ten Commandments like they should have, and they suffered greatly for this choice. Are we repeating their mistake? | Christianity | Church Growth | Foundations of the Faith | Old Testament Studies | Law vs. Grace | Christian Woman | Grow Your Faith | Bible Study

We are the Church.
Set-apart for God’s glory.
His Son’s and Daughters.

Then why?  Why don’t we follow His commands? Why do our wandering hearts long for Egypt?

The God we serve is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

In the words of Jesus Christ, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew:5:17-19).”

Grace reigns, but it doesn’t negate the law!

God’s commands were not just for the Israelites. They are also for you and me.

Not to be carried like a yoke of slavery, but to be cherished like a gift from our Beloved.

God’s law is for our benefit!

It reminds us He is holy. It teaches us how to live. It guides us through the desert. It shapes us into His image.

This is the #1 reason Christians need to revisit the Ten Commandments.

Not to better understand the law, but rather to better understand the Author of the law.

God gave His law to the Israelites because He loved them. He wanted to protect them, to bless them.

They didn’t treasure it like they should have, and they suffered greatly for this choice.

Will we repeat their mistake?

The Israelites didn't treasure God's Ten Commandments like they should have, and they suffered greatly for this choice. Are we repeating their mistake? | Christianity | Church Growth | Foundations of the Faith | Old Testament Studies | Law vs. Grace | Christian Woman | Grow Your Faith | Bible Study

A Closing Challenge

I started signing off the internet for the Sabbath this summer. 

It may seem a small thing to you, but for me it is one of those brave things I’ve always wished I had the courage and self-control to accomplish.

Years wasted wishing I were stronger, when all I had to do was ask God to supply the strength I lacked.

As I contemplated the true meaning of the Sabbath, I felt convicted by my utter disregard for this divinely institued day of rest and worship.

Sure, my family attends our local church on Sunday morning, but beyond that Sundays are just like any other day.

Full of projects, cleaning, and a dozen other distractions.

My Iphone and computer topping the list.

I know it sounds silly, but somehow my internet connection was preventing me from entering into sacred rest.

The whole world at my fingertips keeping me from the One who reigns above it all.

So I courageously unplugged my heart from the world, and experienced the most glorious Sabbath I’ve ever known.

7 days later, I did it again. And again. And again. And now I can’t stop!

I don’t want to stop.

When I choose to unplug from the world, I’m free to plug my whole heart into the One True Power Source.

He revives my soul in a way the world never will.

When God rested on the 7th day, He was setting a divine example for His new creation.

He was showing us rest is part of His design.

“Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13

Listen, I know we aren’t the Israelites. I know we live under the new covenant. I know we don’t have to keep the Sabbath.

But if it was important enough to God to include in the ten commandments, maybe we need to treat it with a bit more respect.

Maybe by choosing to keep the Sabbath holy, we will show the world Whose we are!

So I am asking, no challenging you, to consider joining me in signing off for the Sabbath this weekend.

Just try it.

Maybe the experience will transform you as it has transformed me.

I gave God one full day, and in return He gave me something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

A glimpse into the kind of life He designed just for me.

Exquisite. Peaceful. Awe-inspiring. Sacred.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.” Exodus 20:8

Do you believe the Ten Commandments are still relevant? If so, what role should they play in modern Christianity? I’d love to chat with you about it in the comments.

This article has been shared at my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

 
Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life.

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Read Sarah’s full Bio Here.

30 thoughts on “The #1 Reason Christians Need to Revisit the Ten Commandments

  1. What a powerful message for each of us today,Sarah. Our wandering eyes, mind, and heart definitely need to re visit the Ten Commandments and study deeply about how we break God’s heart today.

    I am definitely going to follow up on the Sabbath this weekend especially with phone and laptop. My triplets are still young ,so the chores are never ending most of the days 🙂

    So glad I got to read this Heavenly word today.
    Much blessings to you Sarah!
    Your neighbor from #TuesTalk (#59)

    Diana

    1. Diana, I’m so happy to know you are joining me in signing off for the Sabbath this weekend. It’s been such a blessing in my own life to disconnect and have some down time each Sunday. And, not surprisingly, Sunday has become my favorite day of the week! I do have to still do some cooking (and occasionally fold some laundry), but I try my best to let myself rest. Hope you do the same! God bless.

  2. Sarah–the 10 commandments ARE still important to us! Thanks for affirming that! I was so surprised when someone in our church left because my husband preached on the 10 commandments. They thought they were not important for us as followers of Christ. Wow. Grace does not negate the desire to know God’s wishes for how he wants his people to live and it doesn’t negate his desire for us to know him. Thank you for affirming the need for rest as well. I need this reminder and the courage to carry it out more!!

    1. Amy – WOW! What a crazy story. I believe it, though. I truly believe a lack of respect for the Old Testament is one of the enemy’s attacks on the Church. I’m so grateful for my pastor (who is a Christian Jew) and his deep respect for the whole Bible. He always weaves the Old Testament truths into his preaching, showing us how it all ties together….teaching us the value of studying God’s Word as a whole.

      Remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy has really transformed my life in the most beautiful way. I just love it how God teaches us new things as we grow older, how He draws us closer to Him and gives us strength to walk in His ways.

  3. I stay off the internet on Sundays, and it makes all the difference in the rest of the week. Thank you for writing that we need to revisit the 10 commandments to get to know God better–I couldn’t agree more!

    1. Good for you! I am so grateful God gave me the courage to start this new habit this summer, I believe it will save me much pain and heartache in the long run. I’ve so enjoyed my time in the Old Testament and I’ve learned so much about God through my study. He’s so good to us (even when we have wandering hearts and achy feet).

  4. Taking a sabbath this summer was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I think I am going to start taking a break from May-September every year! Thanks for encouraging me to take that leap of faith, dear sister. XO

    1. I’m so happy you gave yourself time to rest and recoup this summer. I plan on continuing with my Summer Sabbath indefinitely. We simply weren’t made to produce 12 months out of the year!

  5. I spent last Sunday wishing I didn’t have a ton of work still to finish to prepare for our kids’ new homeschool year. I vowed to “get ahead” this week so I can get back to resting properly for the Sabbath. I know I’ve been running myself ragged. I think God gave the commands for our benefit and safety as well as for those we interact with. His way is always best!

    1. Oh, Kelly! We all have those running ragged seasons, don’t we? September always threatens to destroy me. It’s just too much change in one month! Praying you have a more restful Sabbath this week and in the future.

  6. Hi Sarah, thank you for sharing this. About 18 months ago we moved house, and at our new church, the 10 commandments are read every Sunday. I realized how little I had thought about them before! For me, the challenge has been hearing the command not to envy anything from my neighbor, and hearing it each week. So helpful. I also love our Sabbath rest. I grew up with the tradition, but didn’t understand the joy of it until I married my presbyterian husband 10 years ago 🙂

    1. Elizabeth, what a cool way to instill respect for the ten commandments. I love it! Isn’t repetition the most amazing educational tool? Yes, envy is a tough one…for all of us. I’m finding the more I discover who God made me to be, the less I long for what others have. But it’s definitely a process….

  7. Love this, Sarah! As a family, we try very hard to keep the Sabbath holy, not because we want to be “religious” but because we want to be in “relation” with the Father. It’s almost like a tithe, the first fruit of our week, devoted to Him. Like the Israelites, I quickly forget His faithfulness in dividing the Red Sea of my mess and turn to other “gods” to satisfy what only a Holy God can satisfy. Keeping the commandments in the forefront of memory is vital to being rooted in Him. After all, our Savior is the ultimate fulfillment of these commandments.

    1. I love how you highlighted the words religion and relationship. I feel exactly the same way. I have also found that setting aside the Sabbath has improved my relationships with my immediate family. It’s amazing how connected you feel to your loved ones when you disconnect from everyone else for a day each week. Such a blessing!

  8. I love this so much Sarah! When I read the part where you speak as though you were one of the children of Israel I was really impacted by it. I know how quickly I can grumble etc but that made me see that there are more subtle ways that I dishonor God with my attitude and how if I had been there I would have probably been thinking the same things! It’s so easy to start asking why, instead of trusting!
    Keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship was how I was brought up and has always been a part of my life but I still find that it’s easy to not be doing unnecessary things and yet my heart not be in a place of worship but my mind busy with next week. I need to give my thoughts a Sabbath too! How I need my heart to be constantly pointed back to Christ! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, they’ve really got me thinking. x

    1. Hi Sharon! Writing that portion of the article in first person really impacted me too. All of their crazy decisions somehow made more sense to me when I really tried to understand the emotions they must have been feeling as they exited Egypt.

      Resting our minds is one of the most difficult things to do. A friend and mentor once told me if your body is laying on the couch, but your mind is still racing, you are not resting…it does not count! I always say rest is hard work, but so worth the effort.

  9. This is beautiful! We are to be set apart and holy so others can see God’s glory. But it is so hard for us to admit we cannot keep the law. We want to hold on to this illusion that we are good people. But in reality so much of our lives are spent breaking the first commandment. Without realizing what miserable sinners we are we lose sight of how desperately we need Jesus. Thanks for these wise words! Blessings!

    1. I really do think God’s purpose in some of the commands are to set us apart from the rest of the world. So people will look at us and see something different. I’m just so grateful we don’t have to do it on our own! Because of the blood of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have received.

  10. So true, Sarah. I appreciate the great parallel of slavery/freedom for the Israelites and for us as believers. Who do we obey in our freedom? You might like Pastor Colin Smith (Unlocking the Bible Ministries) recent sermon series on the 10 commandments. He calls them the “10 greatest struggles” and really gets at the heart of each of those simple instructions!

    1. I still hop on the internet for different reasons on Sundays, just no social or e-mail. That said, I was on yesterday checking on my friends in the hurricane. For me, it’s just been wonderful giving myself permission to take a day off from my online duties.

  11. So much priceless value here, Sarah! The 10 commandments are still important. We can’t wash them away because of what Christ did on the cross for us. He gave us a way back to Him – a way to always have a brand new start – but that doesn’t mean the 10 Commandments are not for our benefit and do not have value. Beautiful post, friend, and I truly admire your social media unplug on Sundays!

    Hugs,
    Lori

  12. Sarah, great article! I do believe the Ten Commandments are still relevant. I believe you totally hit on the REASON why we should revisit the Ten Commandments often.

    Most of us believe in God, but do we know what He is like? Do we know what He wants? With the Ten Commandments, we don’t have to guess any longer.

    I believe the Ten Commandments always needs to be placed right beside the gospel. The gospel tells us that Jesus came to bring us out of our own Egypt – to save us from our slavery to sin. He did what we could not do. He lived the sinless life we couldn’t live, and He died to free us. We don’t earn that; we just receive it by faith.

    The Ten Commandments show us the way to live while continually pointing us back to our need for a Savior – our need for Jesus Christ – the One who can set us free.

    In fact, I just finished reading a book a couple months ago called “TEN”, how the commandments SET US FREE”, by Mark Mitchell, lead pastor of Central Peninsula Church on the San Francisco Peninsula. The book devotes one chapter to each of the Ten Commandments, taking a closer look at them one at a time, and then applying each of them to our lives. This is a must read book. I have read it twice now, and intend to read about one Commandment each day because I really want to cement the words in this book in my heart. I have only had this book two months, and it looks ten years old. I have so many pages dog eared and places highlighted in yellow that it really looks old. It is written so well, and gives us all really pertinent information on how to live each day following the Ten Commandments.

    I know this is already long, but I would really like to share what is written on the back of the book to give you all a flavor of his writing and a little something about the book.

    “Many tend to see the Ten Commandments as a list of dos and don’ts given by a demanding God. Instead, we should view them as a road map to freedom provided by a powerful yet gracious God.

    God gave His people the Ten Commandments after He led them out of their slavery in Egypt. He didn’t want to enslave them all over again with heavy, unattainable rules. These decrees were meant to enrich their relationship with Him and with others. And they still apply to us today.

    The Ten Commandments are not old-fashioned or outdated – they are still God’s way of showing us our sin, keeping us on track, and helping us fix our eyes on Him. So take a new look at the Ten Commandments. As we embrace God’s law and the gospel of grace, we can walk the path of true freedom”.

    Thank you Sarah for providing us with such insight. You have really given me a lot to think on in each of your articles. I feel blessed to have found you!

  13. There is so much truth here, Sarah! I’m an Israelite, too. I love reading the Old Testament. In fact, I just started in Genesis again last week. The continuity from beginning to end strengthens and encourages me. But oh those wanderers. I’m like them is so many ways. Thanks for the challenge to make each command personal to learn the blessing of doing life God’s way. Blessings!

  14. This was such a great reminder, I think we get so busy and wrapped up in things that we don’t stop to remember the 10 commandments and why they were given to us.
    Thanks so much for sharing at LMML
    Have a great day
    Connie

  15. Sarah you did hit the nail on the head. As a teacher, I look forward to the Sabbath. It helps me to have a guilt-free day of not engaging in secular work or pleasures. I don’t know how I would survive without it. Time with others builds relationships. And so it is, time with God (and family) helps to maintain those bonds. God is wiser than us, He knows what our relationship with Him needs. It is my weekly date with my best friend. Smile.
    And yes, we are doing ourselves a disservice when we disregard His commands. I must say that I honor the seventh day (Saturday) as outlined in scripture. Something to consider—as I have found no scriptural evidence that supports a new Sabbath. Blessings!

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