Woven Day 10 Ruled By Rules: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Ruled By Rules!

Exodus 20:1-21 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

1Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ iniquity, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.

Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates. 11 For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 Do not murder.

14 Do not commit adultery.

15 Do not steal.

16 Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

18 All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 “You speak to us, and we will listen,” they said to Moses, “but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.”

20 Moses responded to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.” 21 And the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the total darkness where God was.

The Questions

1) What did God mean in verse 2 when He said, “ I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.”?

2) How can we categorize the commandments?

3) Why were the people so afraid?

4) What did Moses mean when he said that God had come to test them so that they would fear Him?

The Findings for Intention

1) What did God mean in verse 2 when He said, “ I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.”?
God made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15. He told him that that his descendants would be strangers in a foreign land for 400 years where they would be oppressed, but that He would judge the nation that held them in bondage and would deliver them. He promised that they would then return to the “promised land” where Abraham was when the covenant was enacted. Exodus is the story of God’s people in slavery in Egypt and all the miracles He did to bring them out of bondage. God, through His miracles, forced Pharaoh to let God’s people go. If it weren’t for God, the Israelites would have never been freed from bondage.

2) How can we categorize the commandments?
The first four commandments have to do with our relationship with God. No idols. No serving other gods. No taking God’s name in vain. Keep the Sabbath holy. I think it’s important to say here that God had the right to set up these rules because He was the One who freed them from bondage. Was it so much to ask that they worship Him alone? I don’t think so! The next six commandments have to do with our relationship with others. Honor your father and mother. No murder. No adultery. No stealing. No lying. No coveting. When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, they really messed up our relationship with God, with each other, and with our planet and all the creatures that live on it. These rules were to help the Israelites see how broken they were.

3) Why were the people so afraid?
The only thing that the Israelites knew about God was what had been passed down to them through stories and what they had seen Him do to the Egyptians through the 10 plagues in Egypt (Exodus 7-12). Think about this for a while…they were told that He kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden. He had flooded the entire earth. He had destroyed the Tower of Babel. He then chose a people for Himself (AKA them!!), and then they saw with their own eyes how He brought on these terrible plagues and literally killed every firstborn in Egypt. Not to mention that He completely wiped out the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea. I don’t know about you, but those things would probably be enough to scare me. Add to that, all they had done since they left Egypt was complain about their new normal, and now God was laying down the law in the form of lightning and thunder, sounds of trumpets and smoking mountains. Who wouldn’t be a little freaked out by all of that, especially if you had lived your whole life as a slave and all you did all day was make bricks.

4) What did Moses mean when he said that God had come to test them so that they would fear Him?
The Hebrew word for test is “nasah”. It means to test, to try, to prove. It carries with it the idea of testing the quality of someone or something through a demonstration of stress. It means “to put to the test” in order to ascertain the nature of something, including imperfections, faults, or other qualities. So, basically, God was using these ten commandments to see just exactly how imperfect and faulty these Israelites were, or better yet, to show them how imperfect they were so that they would fear God with right reverential awe. This kind of fear isn’t exactly the scary kind of fear. This fear is exactly what we would experience when we think of fire. We have a high respect for it because we know the damage it can do. It can be a wonderful thing on a cold day, but it can also burn your house down. God was putting them to the test to show them how imperfect they were so that they would keep God in His proper place of respect and awe as they travelled their road of freedom to the Promised Land.

The Everyday Application

1) What did God mean in verse 2 when He said, “ I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.”?
We were all once in slavery. We were slaves to sin. Romans 3:23 says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 6:17-18 says, “But thank God that, although you use to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over, and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.”  And who was it that brought us out of that bondage? It is Jesus. Second Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He alone rescued us from sin when He took our place on that cross. He alone deserves the glory, and the power, and the praise! He alone can make us free. We will know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free. He is the way, the Truth, and the life!!

2) How can we categorize the commandments?
First and foremost, our relationship with Jesus has to be the center of our lives. There are so many things and people (our kids) in our lives that we tend to idolize, but God says that He alone is to be God of our hearts. Why? Because He alone rescued us out bondage to sin and the penalty of eternal fire! All of the commandments were put into place to lead us to Jesus. Galatians 3:24 says that the Law is a tutor that leads us to Jesus, so that we can be justified by faith. The rules don’t save us. Jesus does! If we love Jesus above all else (our families, our reputations, our success, etc.), we will most certainly treat others with proper care and respect. As God moves from the commandments about Himself to the commandments about others, I find it interesting that the first commandment that has to do with others is about family. Honor your mother and father. God expects us to glorify Him in us to our families first and then to others. Matthew 5:14-15 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to ALL WHO ARE IN THE HOUSE.” (Emphasis mine) It starts with Jesus, then moves to our homes, then moves to those outside our families.

3) Why were the people so afraid?
What about you? Are you scared of God? Do you see Him as this big Judge in the sky that is just waiting to make you pay for your sins? Oh, Beloved, that is not the God of the Bible!! We are no longer under the Law. We are under grace!! Hebrews 12:18-24 says, “For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm, to the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of words. Those who heard it begged that not another word be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded: If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.  The appearance was so terrifying that Moses said, I am trembling with fear.  Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” Jesus’ blood enacted a New Covenant, a better covenant. The Old Covenant has passed away, and Jesus has come. You can rest in Him. You don’t need to be afraid of Him!

4) What did Moses mean when he said that God had come to test them so that they would fear Him?
I believe the real test for us is much like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-24. Do we love God above all else? Is He number one in our lives? He sacrificed for us. Are we willing to sacrifice for Him? Are we willing to carry our cross (die to ourselves) until we receive our crown, or will we carry out the desires of the flesh and walk our own way, disregarding the Lord’s sacrifice. God has set us free from our bondage to sin. Will we keep Him before us in our freedom until we reach Heaven?  There are so many things that distract us from His beautiful face!! But oh, how He loves us and desires our deepest devotion and affection. He is worthy! He is the only One who is worthy! He is the only One who rescued us from ourselves! Thank You, Jesus!!

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Ruled By Rules!
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Woven Week Two!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Woven!