Can They All Boil Down to Two?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Exodus 19-20, Matthew 18:21-35

moses-10-commandments

20 Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

You must have no other gods before me.

Do not make an idol for yourself—no form whatsoever—of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the Lord your God, am a passionate God. I punish children for their parents’ sins even to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. But I am loyal and gracious to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Do not use the Lord your God’s name as if it were of no significance; the Lord won’t forgive anyone who uses his name that way.

Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals, or the immigrant who is living with you. 11 Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 Honor your father and your mother so that your life will be long on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 Do not kill.

14 Do not commit adultery.

15 Do not steal.

16 Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.

17 Do not desire your neighbor’s house. Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor (Exodus 20:1-17, Common English Bible).

The Pharisees asked Jesus about what was the greatest commandment. Of course, most of us know the answer Jesus gave, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40, paraphrased).

So Keith, what does that have to do with The Ten Commandments?

That is a really good question. I sure am glad you asked. We don’t really have the time here to discuss all ten. Had I been writing about Exodus like I did Matthew a year ago, much like I took the Beatitudes one at a time, I would look at the Commandments one at a time. But, to stay even with “Journey Through the Scriptures,” that isn’t possible.

When I was working on my Bachelor’s degree at Sam Houston State I took a speech class during my last semester. There were three United Methodist pastors in that class. In some ways, I don’t think our professor had much of a chance. Anyway, we were getting ready for a speech and the professor decided to use The Ten Commandments as an illustration and asked the question, “If we can’t address all Ten Commandments in a speech how might we break them down for a better understanding?” He looked at the three of us, all sitting together in the classroom.

I wish I could tell you it was me who had the answer. I didn’t. I don’t remember who did, but I know it wasn’t me. But, one of my colleagues said, “We can break them down as sins against God and sins against people.” My friend was right.

The first four 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, are sins against God.

The remaining six, 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 are sins against people.

When I consider The Ten Commandments broken down into the two categories, “Sins against God” and “Sins against People,” I see perhaps the first evidence of Jesus’ most important commandment, love God and love people. After all, when Jesus said all the other commandments hung on these two, that would have to include those we call, “The Ten Commandments.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

P.S. I would ask you to keep my good friend Rev. Scott Dornbush in your prayers. Scott had a major heart attack and is currently in a Houston area hospital in ICU. He and his family would appreciate your prayers. Thanks, JKB.

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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