The Ten Commandments | Exodus 20

Welcome to Real Life. I love God’s Word (the Bible). I get to know him as I read his Word. It's also full of wisdom and practical Real Life advice. 

Thirty-five hundred years ago, before the first scrolls of Scripture were written,[1] God himself wrote on tablets of stone[2] and handed them to Moses on Mount Sinai. Those words are known as “The Ten Commandments.” As the Children of Israel journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land, God not only directed their physical path, but he also sought to direct their spiritual path. He began by teaching them what NOT to do. Some behaviors are harmful to us and those around us. God calls those negative behaviors sin. The commandments are a loving Father's warning, “Don’t touch the fire or you’ll get burned.”

Many have heard of “The Ten Commandments.” But, the actual commands are no longer commonly known. They’ve fallen out of popularity, just as calling anything sinful has fallen out of popularity. However, sin is still harmful.[3] And the commandments, along with the wisdom behind them, continue to keep God’s children from getting burned.

The Ten Commandments

I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
God rescued me from a life of slavery to sin.[4]

1) You must not have any other god but me.
There are many false gods in this world. Who is god of my life? We all serve someone or something. Who or what do I serve? Does anyone or anything come before the true God of the universe?

2) You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them.
Most think of bowing to an idol as bowing before a statue. Yet, I can make an idol of many things. Do I worship money, power, appearance, pleasure, a person or relationship, sports, possessions …?

3) You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
Do I honor God whenever I refer to him? Unless I am praying, even OMG misuses his name.

4) Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.
Do I observe a day or time of rest? I live in a 24/7 culture. I need downtime. As a believer, every day should be dedicated to the Lord.[5] But, do I set aside time to worship God in community with other believers? Or, am I too busy?

5) Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Do I honor my parents, even when I don’t agree with them? Even when they make me a little crazy? Even when dementia and failing health make them difficult to be around? How does God want me to honor my parents?

6) You must not murder.
Do I ever (in anger) curse someone or wish them dead? Jesus calls this murder.[6]

7) You must not commit adultery.
Have I desired to be with someone (sexually) who is not my spouse? Do I dress in a manner that would make someone desire me sexually? Do I view pornography? Do I live vicariously through erotic novels? Jesus calls this adultery.[7]

8) You must not steal.
Do I arrive at work late or leave early, stealing time from my employer? Do I refuse to pay taxes? Do I withhold offerings from my church? Do I borrow and not repay?

9) You must not testify falsely against your neighbor (lie).
Do I tell half-truths or hide the truth? Do I lie to protect my image? (Note: neighbor is not only the person living next door. It is whoever I come in contact with.[8])

10) You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
Coveting - wanting more, better, newer – is what keeps our economy going. But is it good for me? Coveting is the enemy of contentment. Can I rejoice with a friend who is prospering without wishing I had what he/she has? It is not wrong to desire improvement … unless that becomes my god – my idol (see commandments one and two).

Well, how did you do? I got 100%. I’ve broken them all at one time or another. As long as I am in this world I will never be sinless.
[9]   But as I follow the Lord and seek to obey his Word, I will sin less.

What about you? Will you heed the warnings of your loving Father?

Dearest Lord, I love your Word. 
Thank you for leaving me clear instructions to keep me from harm. 

Taking it further …
  • God’s Word lights our path. Amy Grant (with Michael W. Smith) singing “Thy Word.”
  • "Sin will take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay." ~ a favorite quote of Prison Chaplain Gary Koly.
[1] “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT).
[2] Exodus 31:18
[3] For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a NIV).
[4] See “One Thing Worth Pursuing” blog on how I came to know Jesus Christ:
[5] Romans 14:5,6
[6] Matthew 5:21, 22
[7] Matthew 5:27, 28
[8] Luke 10:29-37
[9] Romans 8:1-17

Image of fire from:


  1. Good morning Peggi,
    Today, I am catching up on the blogs that I follow and yours was one of the first to read. Thank you for such a timely message. With spiritualism and other types of religions that are now running rampart in our society, it is difficult to hear the truth of God's word. That is why it is so necessary to know that all scripture in the Bible is there to help us live a godly life.
    I know of people who have chosen not to go this route. It took me a long time to hear the voice of God as to how I should handle people who definitely go their own way or who add some other kind of religion next to God to be more enlighted. One day, I heard a sermon on God TV from Creflo Dollar. He made a statement that has stuck with me every since. He said and I will paraphase it, "If people tell me they have found another way and are doggedly determine to go that way, I don't argue with them. I let them go. I don't waste my time trying to convince them they are wrong." It was freedom for me to hear those words. So, I have stopped trying to convert others. The way for me is the way of Jesus. There is no other way, but I respect another's person's opinion to go to hell, if they want to.
    I loved reading your article.


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