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Deuteronomy 5:1-21, The Ten Commandments

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Moses convened all Israel, and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances that I am addressing to you today; you shall learn them and observe them diligently.
— Deuteronomy 5:1

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, August 28, 2018

living free in community

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff

Israel had been enslaved for 400 years. This surviving generation had never before needed to govern themselves. Now, here they were in the wilderness, free for the first time in their lives, wondering what on earth to do now!

But God didn't abandon them, nor did God let them flounder. God laid out all the rules and laws that the people would need to form and maintain a civil society. These ten commandments were the pillars of all the laws God would spell out throughout Exodus and Deuteronomy. These were the foundation for all the others that would give greater detail of the day-to-day operations of these laws.

These ten established laws that would strengthen the people's relationship with God (commandments 1-3), with others, (commandments 4-8), and with self (commandments 9-10, as not coveting is about loving one's self and being content with what one has). 

The laws were never intended to stifle or suffocate. They were intended to give life. When followed, these laws make it possible for people to live in harmony in community. These laws were a gift from God, and continue to be so today.

Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Deuteronomy 5:1-21

Moses convened all Israel, and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances that I am addressing to you today; you shall learn them and observe them diligently. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. Not with our ancestors 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 fire. (At that time I was standing between the Lord and you to declare to you the words of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And 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 before me. 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. 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 fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 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. Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave 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. Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so 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. You shall not murder. Neither shall you commit adultery. Neither shall you steal. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

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