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Published / updated: 28 March 2006 | Author: Dele Oke

Revisiting the Ten Commandments

Imagine receiving a letter through the post from someone you do not know. This mysterious person somehow seems to know you very well. Not only does the letter address you by name but it also mentions all the hardships you have been through in the past.

Furthermore, the letter states that you are being offered a house. No strings attached. It has all been paid for and you owe nothing. It is a house built purposely for you. Four bedrooms with a massive garden at the back and ample space in front to park your car. Most people would be delighted.

All the details on how you are to take possession of your new property are enclosed in the letter and within a short time and with minimum effort you have moved into your new property.

Not only does this property meet all your requirements but it is designed and decorated to a much better standard than you ever expected.

Three months after moving in (Exodus 19:1) you are relaxing in the room one evening when there is a knock on the door. You open it to see an elderly and well-dressed man standing outside.

He asks if he may come in without introducing himself. After hesitating for a few seconds you let him in. After all he is only small in stature and you reckon he can?t do much harm even if he tried.

You lead him into your sitting room and ask him to sit down. You are edgy and on your guard with this unknown visitor. With a rather irritated voice you blurt out ?can I help you?.

He looks up at you with eyes filled with love and says ?I am the one who bought this house for you?. Suddenly you are feeling relaxed. A smile breaks across your face. ?Thank you, thank you? you exclaim. You resist the temptation to fall on your knees ? don?t overdo it you keep telling yourself.

You manage to reclaim your composure and continue. ?I have been longing to meet you, sorry for the reluctant welcome earlier, I didn?t know it was you? you say rather sheepishly.

?That is alright? says your guest to your massive relief. ?All I ask is that you keep this place clean and tidy, don?t disturb the neighbours, and this place is yours till you die. After that your children, friends or anyone you like can continue to live here?.

?Keep this place clean? you repeat, ?that is no problem. It is the least I can do to show my appreciation? you say.

I could continue with the story but I think you have got the point now.

You are now in a much better position to appreciate what the children of Israel felt when they heard God say in Exodus 20: 1-3

Then 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 before Me.

Having been in bondage in Egypt for the last four hundred years this was their introduction to the one who had given them freedom. Asking them not to have any other gods before him must have seemed like the least they could do.

Their reply must have sounded something like this.

?Have other gods before you. The thought never crossed our minds. After all the power and love you have shown to us. We would never be that ungrateful. Besides, we know what is good for us. You are. Not those other powerless gods.?

God?s commandments are a product of his love. We often read the Ten Commandments as ?do nots? and forget the most important opening phrase.

Then 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.

Now go and meditate on the similar words Jesus is saying to us today ? Matthew 11:28-30