In the beginning of Exodus 34, God told Moses to make two new tablets. this is a signal really for what will follow in chapters 34-35:3. At the core of Exodus 34 is a reestablishment of the covenant God gave in Exodus 20-23 and ratified in chapter 24. Verses 6-7 are crucial. But they are part of a bigger picture in this passage related to the covenant, which still hangs in the balance. This passage shows the effects of God’s grace. As the text continues, we begin to understand more the relationship of God’s grace to his dealings with Israel.
The final commandment is unique. We can find that other ancient cultures echoed many of the precepts of the moral code God reveals here for Israel in the Ten Commandments. But the commandment not to covet is unique. It cannot be found anywhere else. Here the tenth command turns inward.
One of the great intellectual plagues of modernity and postmodernity is the idea that truth does not exist. Truth is relative, they say. In one respect, this is the natural conclusion of those who adopt hard materialism. And with God absent, there is no one being who sees everything as it really is. These are more than philosophical problems. These are spiritual problems. This morning we turn to the 9th commandment, You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
As I stand here, it’s hard to sense the great importance that this message could have for us as a church of Jesus Christ. Some of you have been or will be tempted to commit adultery in its various forms. The sick state of our present age, ranging from rampant divorce, atheism, pornography, homosexuality, and the transgender insanity, can be traced to the cold disregard for this one command of God. Yet this command remains as true today as it did 3400 years ago.
The 5th Commandment may be the one we have heard the most over the course of our lives. We were told it when we were children, even babies. But there is more here than a word about how little children should behave. Indeed, this fifth word is filled with significance.
Then, we read in ch 20:1, “And God spoke all these words.” So, while Moses was up at the mountain peak, the Lord spoke audibly to him so that his people could hear. And what the Lord said that great day was none other than what we call the Ten Commandments. As they enter into covenant, God presents covenant stipulations that they must follow as his people. This morning, we will consider the first of these.