Tag Archives: Exodus 20

God’s Law and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 3, 2017

Exod 20 ten commandments word cloud

God’s Law and Meditation

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had some fascinating words to say about the Ten Commandments. Just two paragraphs are quoted in this chapter of Meditating on the Word, but they give us a glimpse of what Bonhoeffer was thinking. “It is grace to know God’s commands,” he said.  Knowing God’s commands—God’s laws—helps us to understand conflict. What is more, God’s laws help to set us free from “self-made plans.”  Intriguing!

Of great important is the beginning of the commandments, for we are messing up that relationship in Exodus 20. “I am the LORD your God.” According to Bonhoeffer, the “I” of the commandments is the Almighty God, and we are called into intimate relationship with God.

When we break one (or more) of God’s commands, the rules are not just of human origin. Bonhoeffer reminds us that we transgress against God. We break God’s commands in our disobedience, not mere human ones, and it is serious, indeed.

If we add to the law God is certainly in charge of, we see Bonhoeffer’s amazement; God dispenses grace through the Ten Commandments, as well. The Ten Commandments ”are not detachable, as if we could  somehow separate God’s will from God Himself.” [1]

God’s grace comes to us from God’s word. This—Exodus 20—as   is as surely God’s revelation as punitive sections of the Mosaic Law as well as many of the Prophets and their writings. God is revealed with mighty power throughout this interaction.

Dear Lord, help me to understand Your abundant grace. Even in the midst of diversity. Dear God, thank You for being on our side, with grace, with love, and with Your open arms of compassion and forgiveness. In Your mercy, hear us as we pray.

@chaplaineliza

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[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 13.

Almost-Ten Commandments, Redux?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 24, 2015

Ten Commandments medieval illustration Exodus 20

Almost-Ten Commandments, Redux?

I learned the Ten Commandments as a girl, in both Sunday school and Confirmation class. (Pastor Wold was very thorough, as I remember.) I also remember the Ten Commandments etched into two large tablets made of polished wood, in the Sunday school office. (I never asked at the time, but I suspect the two pieces of wood with etchings were made as a special wood working project by some enterprising young Boy Scout, to fulfill the requirements for a badge or for achieving the next level in scouting.)

Dutifully, I learned the Ten Commandments. And then, after Confirmation, forgot them. More or less. That is, until several courses in bible college. I revisited them, and was very glad I had had thorough teaching in Confirmation class before being confirmed as a Lutheran.

I remember having the sneaking feeling that the Ten Commandments, as written in Exodus, had a definitely negative twist. Except for “honor your father and mother,” all of them had a negative cast. Telling everyone what they were NOT supposed to do! So depressing. So sad-making. So much like someone wagging their finger in my face. (Which gets my back up in the best of times.)

I suppose that is why I much prefer this reiteration in Leviticus (of the spirit) of the Ten Commandments.

Here in Leviticus, the commandments are shaped in a much more positive manner. If I had grown up with these, instead, I wonder how closely I would have followed the commands? And, by extension, would other people get drawn to these positive, nurturing ideas? I guess I will never know. For sure, that is. But—I can dream, can’t I?

Let’s come to God in prayer. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You so much for such an encouraging reading today. And, Lord, help me to show others Your love, just as each one is trying to show God as the next Big Thing. Dear God, I earnestly pray, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .