August 16, 2019

The Ten Commandments . . . Plus One

Deuteronomy 5:1–21

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The Ten Commandments

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said:

“‘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 on 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 fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands2 of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 “‘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.

12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 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 or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave3 in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

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

17 “‘You shall not murder.4

18 “‘And you shall not commit adultery.

19 “‘And you shall not steal.

20 “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

21 “‘And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.’


[1] 5:7 Or besides
[2] 5:10 Or to the thousandth generation
[3] 5:15 Or servant
[4] 5:17 The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence

The Ten Commandments . . . Plus One

Key Verse | Deuteronomy 5:6

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

Bio | Carl Long

I am a husband and father to two sons. My wife and I met in college, and over the years, I have seen God work in our marriage to draw me closer to Him and in turn closer to my wife. I am very proud of my two sons, who both can outrun me and fortunately didn't get my sense of rhythm. I have served in Children's Ministry and encourage anyone looking to see God at work to serve there, especially On Your Mark.

Central Truth

God chose you, rescued you, then gave you the way to live. When you love God and love others, you keep God's law. Not because you have to, but because you have been rescued from the slavery of sin and given new life.

Devotional | Deuteronomy 5:1–21

When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, He chose them, then rescued them from slavery, then gave them the law; not the other way around. He didn't give the law, have them earn His approval to be...

When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, He chose them, then rescued them from slavery, then gave them the law; not the other way around. He didn't give the law, have them earn His approval to be chosen, then rescue them. The Israelites didn't follow the law to earn redemption in order to be saved. There was nothing that the chosen people of God could do to earn freedom from slavery. They were saved because God is steadfast and His Word is true. God's goodness and purity are reflected in His law, and His grace and mercy are shown in that, while His people were slaves, He rescued them.

That is our story, too. We are all slaves to the power of sin, and because of God's goodness, mercy, and steadfast love, we can be freed from that bondage. Believing that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died and rose from the grave in order to rescue those He chose sets believers free to live life differently. Living life differently, according to God's commandments, after we have been set free, is not a burden. It is a life marked by peace, joy, and love. It is a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and is based on the confidence that nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38-39).

When Moses recounted God's commandments to the Israelites, he was reminding them of God's power, their dependence on Him for their rescue from slavery, and the right way to live together. When we think about being freed from the power of sin in our lives, we need to remember that it is God's power at work in us. We are being given new life (Galatians 2:20). That power enables us to live life according to the new commandment that God gave us when Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another" (John 13:34).

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Discussion Questions

1. What is the most attractive aspect of a life marked by peace, joy, and love? Where in your life are you experiencing those qualities?

2. How does knowing God's commandments help you recognize where you need Him most? 

3. What in your life is holding you back, or what doubts do you have about the goodness of God's plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11)? How will you live your new life in Christ?

4. When have you felt trapped or alone in a sin pattern? Where did you turn for help (1 Corinthians 10:13)?



6 Comments available

Jay Caruso 12 months ago

Thanks Carl. This is a great central truth. Very inspiring “God chose you, rescued you, then gave you the way to live. When you love God and love others, you keep God’s law. Not because you have to, but because you have been rescued from the slavery of sin and given new life.”

Sue Bohlin 12 months ago

Thank you, Carl.

I was struck by the repeated use of the word “shall.” It’s more than a command; it’s also a description of behavior on the New Earth when there will be no sin.

Hope Harris 12 months ago

My attention this week has been on the words “Hear oh Israel.” According to Wiersbe the statement is used over 100 times in the book of Deuteronomy.

In the first six chapters of the book Moses is now preaching and teaching the Torah to a new generation of Israelites. He is calling them to be a covenant relationship of faithfulness to the one True God by the following: To Hear & Respond: Gain understanding and obey To Decide to place God first: A heart singularly devoted To Commit to Live Differently: To treat others with dignity and respect.

The Bible Project says by being faithful to God’s laws the Children of Israel had the opportunity to show the wisdom and justice of God to the world. To demonstrate that living for the one truth God leads to life.

Lindsey Driscoll 12 months ago

Thanks for the devo Carl and reminding us that Israel was chosen, rescued, and then shown how to live in abundance through the Law. What a good father God is to his people that he would show them how to live so that it may go well with them, and then discipline them to remind them of that. There is peace when we live following God’s word, his commandments. Verse 5:3 strikes me, where Moses is reminding Israel, now the 2nd generation, that even if they were not present when the covenant was made at mount Horeb, the covenant still is with them as it was made with their families.

Hugh Stephenson 12 months ago

GM Carl. Thanks for the reminding me the sequence is election, rescue THEN the law is delivered. Remembering that sequence powerfully reinforces the truth that the purpose of the law was not a plan of salvation by works but a demonstration that keeping the law perfectly is impossible.

2 Timothy 3:16 – Verse 1 as a preamble and verses 12-15 on the Sabbath remind me that God is active and very involved in my life. I have been taught that my image of God is heavily influenced by my experience of my earthly father. Although loving, my dad worked a lot and was distant and not involved. Engagement was usually for harsh discipline. These verses reflect my Heavenly Father’s full engagement in my life; He speaks, makes covenants, disciplines & loves. Most importantly, He commands me to rest so that I can remember that he rescued me.

Michael Scaman 12 months ago

Q1. Love is the mark of a Christian

Q2. The commandments start with God and move to parents and others but also end with not coveting which means trusting God’s provisions.

Q3. I find Jeremiah 32:40 a clearer and stronger promise (God will never cease doing you good) than Jeremiah 29:11 since Jer 32:40 explicitly applies to those in the New Covenant.

Q4 In Romans 8 one way to defeat sin is by the spirit, so defeating sin being dependent on the spirit is one way.

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