As I’m reading through Deuteronomy, I confess that I somewhat breezed through the Ten Commandments. Yeah, I know them. No need to read closely or slowly. I’ve read all this before… That was my attitude. Not a good attitude, but that’s what it was. I slowed down a bit on the commandment about honoring the Sabbath, but that’s just because it’s one of my favorite topics. I will write a book about it someday…but not today.

Then I came to chapter 9, our Resting at the River’s Edge reading for today. Verse 10 struck me:

The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you…
          Deuteronomy 9:10

The Ten Commandments were so important that God wrote them with his own finger. He carved each word and each letter Himself onto tablets and gave the tablets to Moses.

Then, of course, Moses threw the tablets on the ground in his anger at the golden calf incident.

This made an impression on me, but not so much that I quit reading to writing a blog. Then I came to Deuteronomy 10:

1At that time [after Moses had broken the first tablets that God had written on] the LORD said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden chest. 2I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the chest.”

3So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. 4The LORD wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the LORD gave them to me. 5Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the LORD commanded me, and they are there now.
          Deuteronomy 10:1-5

God again wrote on the tablets, etching each letter into the stone with his finger. So I can’t help but think how very important they must be to him. And how precious those stones must have been to the Israelites.

My dad wasn’t much for writing letters, but there was one Christmas when he was unemployed and had no money for gifts. He wrote me a letter instead. How very special that gift was. I still have the letter. I don’t still have many other gifts I received from my dad over the years. Somehow, when someone takes the time to put their thoughts into words and onto paper, it creates something very almost magical.

That’s what God did for the Israelites. He wrote out the Ten Commandments in his own hand. I wonder what the handwriting of God looked like!

Also…think of this…the only thing God ever wrote was the Ten Commandments. That puts them pretty high on the list of things that are important to Him. And He didn’t just write them out once. When Moses broke the first set, God wrote them out again.

(Imagine that conversation…”God, umm, well, umm…you know those tablets you, uh, um, the tablets you, uh, wrote out and, uh, gave me a few days ago? Well, I uh, I sort of, well, the Israelites…I was so angry … and I dropped…well, uh, not really dropped, but…I broke them…And I didn’t have time to memorize them first, so…I um, I was wondering if you, uh, if you could write them out again…or, or maybe at least dictate them to me so, uh, I could write them. Would you mind, Lord?)

But I digress. The point is the Ten Commandments were so important to God that He wrote them out Himself, not once but twice. And I breezed over them like I was reading old news. And quite frankly, I’m not the only one. Our society has pretty much trashed the Ten Commandments. We’ve taken coveting to a whole new level – in fact, we’ve created a whole industry around it. Adultery is so common that when we hear about it or see it on television we barely blink an eye. Even Christians take the Lord’s name in vain (yes, using the acronym “OMG” is taking the Lord’s name in vain). Very few of us honor the Sabbath. Or our parents.

I’m not trying to heap guilt upon you. That’s not my job, it’s not my approach, and it’s not what this website is about. But I can’t help but be grieved at how far down the slippery slope we’ve fallen. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’ve fallen down the slippery slope and you’re still at the top. That’s great! We need folks at the top to help those of us who have been too influenced by the world to help us get back up there. I confess to being too molded by the world at times. I don’t want it to be that way. I want to honor the Commandments that God considered so important He wrote them out Himself. Will you join me in that?

The Ten Commandments

7“You shall have no other gods before me.

8“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

12“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

16“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

17“You shall not murder.

18“You shall not commit adultery.

19“You shall not steal.

20“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

21“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

          Deuteronomy 5:7-21

Lord, may I not dishonor you by glossing over that which is so important to you that you wrote it with your own hand.

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