Yitro – “Jethro”
Exodus 18:1-20:23,Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6,1 Samuel 4-6
Words of Life
This week we come to the section of scripture known as the Ten Commandments. No section has been spoken or written on more than these words. With all the commentary though, do we really know what these words are all about?
To understand the Words, let us first look to the setting. The Hebrews have been through quite a whirlwind of a year. This God whom they only remembered from stories of a distant past has now done quite a job of reintroducing Himself to them through many signs and wonders. While signs and wonders are a good thing, they did not help the Hebrews to understand who this God is or what He really expects of them. At this point He is a good miracle worker, but there has not been much relationship built between them and Him. So how does He go about beginning the process of the reintroduction? He does so by telling them some things that He likes and some things that He does not like.
Within the words of the Ten Commandments the Hebrews were told how they should treat Elohim and how they should treat each other. They are words which still resound just as truly today as they did hundreds of years ago when they were first spoken.
The problem most folks have had through the years in interpreting these words is that they have thought the Ten Words were an end in themselves. People have thought that if they just keep these Ten Commandments then everything else in the Torah would be irrelevant. The reason for such thinking is they do not understand the purpose for these words.
The Ten Commandments are not an end, but simply a beginning of one of the hardest jobs The Almighty has ever taken on, explaining His heart to mankind. Think about that task for a moment. How hard a task is it to explain to mortal man who He is as YHVH?
Looking further at this thought of the Ten Commandments not being the end, but a beginning, look at the fourth commandment. Is all we need to know about Shabbat within these four verses of scripture? I don’t think so. These words are a beginning to our understanding of how to observe this day. As we continue reading scripture this year we will find this verse amplified in the balance of Torah as well as the Prophets, the Writings, the words of Yeshua and even the words of the Disciples. HaShem unfolded the wonders of Shabbat unto man as we could take it, each generation learning a bit more about Shabbat and in turn learning more about the heart of our Father and His will for us.
We can even look at the Ten Commandments as the heart of scripture and everything else as putting flesh onto that heart. Just as through the physical heart the blood of life is pumped to every organ of a body, through the heart of Torah the life giving nutrients make it to our mind, our hands, our feet and every other area of our being. If the Ten Commandments are pumping life to our being then when our hand begins to reach out and touch that which is unclean, it will pull back because of the life from the heart flowing through it. When our eyes begin to look upon things we should not, they will turn away because of the life being pumped to them from the heart of the Ten Commandments.
There are just over 600 commandments outside of the Ten Commandments in the Tanach. There are also well over 1000 commandments in what we refer to as the Renewed Covenant. Take some time when you can, or even make it a bit of a game with your family, to look at the commandments in scripture and relate them back to the Ten. I have yet to find a single commandment within the pages of scripture that I could not relate back to one of the Ten Commandments, back to the heart.
Let me give you a quick example. We all know about the commandments of eating kosher. Which of the Ten does this relate to? Give up? How about number two? It speaks of not having idols in our lives, not putting our desires above His desires for our lives. I wonder how life would be different today if Adam and Eve had understood this principle?
One last assignment. Close your Bible. Can you recite the Ten Commandments from memory? Did you get them in order? Did it take you longer to think of them than you thought it would? Remember, in a Hebraic way of life, we do not truly know a commandment unless we are doing the commandment.