JUMC 20120311:0900 Exodus 20:1-17 “The” Top Ten List

 Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. 12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 You shall not murder. 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 male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. -NRSV

While it has become such a part of our language to have a Top Ten list, it was comedian David Letterman on the Late-Night program that has made famous the count-down list we know and love. On Tuesday, August 31, 1993 David ran through a the Top Ten Things We Like About CBS. This list was most a collection of inside jokes but it began a count-down phenomenon.

I would suggest that Dave’s writers drew on a much older tradition for coming up with an authoritative and definitive list of ten from THE ORIGINAL top 10 list. The list we find in in the Old Testament, given from God to Moses to be taught, memorized and even worn on the hearts and minds of God’s people.

  • 1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  • 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol,
  • 3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God
  • 4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 
  • 5. Honor your father and your mother..
  • 6 . You shall not murder.
  • 7. You shall not commit adultery.
  • 8. You shall not steal. 
  • 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 
  • 10. You shall not covet..

While they are ten, they are not a count down to the most important. They start with the most important and fall into three groups or categories:

Our Relationship with God

  • 1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  • 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol,
  • 3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God
  • 4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

Our Relationship with Family

  • 5. Honor your father and your mother..
  • 7. You shall not commit adultery.

Our Relationship with the rest of the community

  • 6 . You shall not murder.
  • 8. You shall not steal. 
  • 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 
  • 10. You shall not covet..

Look at the list in reverse:

  • If you are happy with what you have, (wether you have or dont have much)
  • If you don’t lie, steal or murder,
  • If you faithful in marriage and respect your parents and elders,
  • If you go to church every week, and don’t make any “thing” the object of your worship, your security, hope or love…
  • We can miss the whole can of cheese, if we skip Putting God First..

What does that mean for us?

The 10 Commandment List is the boundary, guide that is at the core of all our relationships:

We are given this list because we are blessed. Because God want su to know the way home.

I know I’m not perfect, but the one who made me and loves me

from the first days in the Garden through today and tomorrow, asks one thing..

Love me first, Love me best. Trust me now, ahead of the rest.

When its easy, When I don’t know how, Do it all, because we’re blessed.

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