April 18, 2019

God's Ten Commandants for Us

Exodus 20

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The Ten Commandments

And God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before1 me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands2 of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.3

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid4 and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

Laws About Altars

22 And the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. 26 And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’


[1] 20:3 Or besides
[2] 20:6 Or to the thousandth generation
[3] 20:13 The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence
[4] 20:18 Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Masoretic Text the people saw

God's Ten Commandants for Us

Key Verse | Exodus 20:3

"You shall have no other gods before me."

Bio | Ellie Holmes

Hi, everyone! My name is Ellie Holmes, and I am blessed to have a large and supportive family. I have three AMAZING siblings who make me laugh, two AWESOME parents whom I look up to, and one CUTE dog named Kali!

People who know me well know that I love theater. Drama is my favorite class in school. One year, my dad took me to New York, and we got to see three Broadway shows.


Central Truth

God gave us the Ten Commandments to reveal His character and His will for our lives.

Devotional | Exodus 20

The Book of Exodus tells us about Israel's deliverance from Egypt and growth as a nation.

We like to read the first half of Exodus because it is exciting. Egypt held Israel captive for 400 years. That is a long...

The Book of Exodus tells us about Israel's deliverance from Egypt and growth as a nation.

We like to read the first half of Exodus because it is exciting. Egypt held Israel captive for 400 years. That is a long time! Then, God freed Israel from Egypt by sending ten plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God then opened the Red Sea for Israel to pass through on dry ground, but caused the Egyptians to drown.

The second half of Exodus is harder to read because it talks about the Law. The purpose of the Law was to reveal the character of God and our need for Him.

In chapter 20, we read about the Ten Commandments. Four of the commandments are about God, and the other six commandments are about human relationships. This teaches that God cares about how we treat Him and others.

Exodus 20:3 says, "You shall have no other gods before me." In other words, there is one God, and we are to put Him first. We put God first by obeying Him, but this isn't always easy to do because sometimes we don't want to obey. Instead, we want to do what sounds fun or what other people are doing, even if it's wrong. We must remember that God knows what is best, and He has our best interest in mind.

My family has rules for our dog. One rule is that she cannot go in the street. We don't keep her from going in the street just because we feel like it. We know if she goes in the street, she could be hit by a car and injured or worse. Even though she doesn't realize it, the rule protects her. In the same way, God gives us rules to protect us. We should choose to obey!

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Discussion Questions

1. When you think of the word law, what do you think about?

2. What do you think it means to have no other god?

3. When do you find it is hard to follow God's law?

4. What is hard about following God's law?

13 Comments available

Jay Caruso about 1 year ago

We should choose to obey! Thank you Ellie for your Devo and time spent giving us perspective

Aaron Young about 1 year ago

your bio reminds me of that time your dad preached the overview of romans! sounds like a whirlwind trip! thanks for the devo!

Carly H about 1 year ago

Thanks for taking the step of faith and writing this devotional Ellie! It is very humbly to read your words of wisdom- I was definitely blessed by this reminder! Especially the part about “You shall have no other gods before me”. God wants our whole hearts to worship Him because He deserves it. It reminds me of the powerful song “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham. May God continue to grow you in faith and that you understand deeper in your heart each day how much He loves you! <3

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

The people would ask that Moses be the mediator for them

“… Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die …” Ex 20:18-21; Deut 18:15

And this is referred to later in where God says it’s good that they did. Deut 18:17,18 A new promise is given of a (more approachable) prophet rising up from among their brethren (raised up from their among brethren - but you still need to listen or destroyed) which is fulfilled in Acts 3:22 as Jesus being that prophet.

greg jones about 1 year ago

Great devotional. Love the dog rule.

I’m thinking about a new dog rule at my house. No more TV for the dog. It used to be fun watching her watch TV. But now there’s a new cat food commercial out starring a cat that looks like the cat that visits our backyard. Now my dog barks and growls at the TV. When the cat commercial comes on, then ends, my dog runs to the back door barking and growling because she’s convinced the cat in the backyard comes through the TV. I wish I could make up a story like that.

What my dog thinks makes perfect sense to me. What’s really neat is what she believes about the cat on TV is based on the real cat outside. I’m probably going to keep letting her watch TV, but I’m drawing a firm line on letting her having the remote.

greg jones about 1 year ago

1of2 if posted in the wrong order. 2of2 if posted the way of delivery…or by sea.

Personally I don’t hear or see God speaking scriptures the way the Israelites did. Though I do hear His spirit and the spirit of his people comeing out of scripture.

John Hill about 1 year ago

Great job Ellie. I like the summary you provided of Exodus and the your reminder that God sets rules/boundaries for us to protect us.

Paul Daniels about 1 year ago

Great devotional, Ellie! You are right that it all begins with understanding that there is no one and no thing more important that our God. And, there is no one in the universe who loves us more than God, the father of our savior Jesus Christ. When I remember this obeying Him is the clear choice. Not always easy, but ALWAYS the right choice. Loving God and loving others is at the core of our lifelong journey with Him who loved us so much that He gave us His only son. Hallelujah!

Carol Bate about 1 year ago

Ellie, Great job with this today! Right on target. I remember when I was a new Christian I didn’t really understand the statement “You shall have no other gods before me.” I thought of course I have no others. I didn’t believe in those gods of Greek mythology. But then I came to realize that there were things and people in my own life that I would follow and seek guidance and affirmation from. They/it became like a god to me. How much better to worship the one true God who truly loves us! Praising Him this Easter time!

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

“…An altar of earth you shall make for me…If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it…” Ex 20:24-26

There may be a picture pointing forward where we are not to shape the stones, Jesus is the stone who shapes us.

There is some simplicity. There is also some practicality. They will have a fairly large fifty square foot altar burning sacrifices in the tabernacle - the earth will handle the heat.

Sue Bohlin about 1 year ago

Ellie, what an outstanding devo! I think that if we didn’t have your bio and picture, no one would know that it wasn’t written by an adult.

I appreciated your questions so much. The 10 commandments are probably some of the best examples of how God‘s law functions as a guard rail on a treacherous mountain road. Guard rails are there not to spoil our view but, as you say, to protect us from our own stupidity and wayward desires to go sailing off the cliff. It’s because God loves us, it’s because He is so very very good, that He puts these laws in place. If everyone obeyed them, what kind of world would we have? I think the kind of life we will see on the New Earth!

Hope Harris about 1 year ago

Ellie I like how you state that the law reveals the character of God. The Law of God is created to benefit us. It reveals that God always seeks what is in our best interest. He places limitations on the things that will harm our relationship with Him and others.

The Law gives us freedom with limits not to deprive us but rather to build healthy meaningful relationships. “The law of God is…holy, just and good.” ( Romans 7:12 KJV)

“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. 9 Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.” (Psalm 19:7-9 NLT)

Hugh Stephenson about 1 year ago

In Prodigal we seek to find peace amidst our prodigal chaos by drawing boundaries around ourselves so that the chaos caused by the prodigal stays with them. That way we can have enough peace to energetically pursue a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:16 - In this passage I see more instruction from God in the form of boundaries. They show me how to deepen my relationship with Him but also have right relationships with others. I link to Matthew 22:38-40 - summarized “Love God, Love Others”.

What could be simpler?

Oops. Then comes verse 4 - do I love God or hate God? Another easy answer, right? The Go Pro movie of my life that also X-Rays my heart might cause others to wonder. Does Romans 8:28 apply to me? If I am “called according to His purpose” does my heart and actions reflect that?

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