Read 49.) Exodus 20:1 thru 21, and Deuteronomy 5:1 thru 27. From out of the Books of Moses, specifically Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we find The 10 Commandments and The Laws of Moses. From antiquity, Israel has said that there are 613 laws, and that they commence with Moses at Sinai in Exodus 20, in 1446 BC, and end with Deuteronomy 26, after their entire wilderness wandering, 40 years later, in 1406 BC. For Westerners, like myself, we love logical order and progression in things, and so, some have devised a means of ordering all these laws around each of The 10 Commandments, using them as the points of an outline, as a law might relate to a Commandment. That works fairly well, though some seem to relate to one as well as to another. For our purposes here, and because it would be so tedious to mention and list all the many references thru these 4 books to attempt to arrange and present them to you in that manner, we will begin with those 2 places where The 10 Commandments were given, and then take up and read thru the 4 books, from those places where we find laws, and note only those that hold some particular interest to us today, or are deemed controversial in these modern and politically correct times. Understand that skeptics, cynics and other unbelievers have held God’s Law up in contempt, and misrepresented it to others in order to harm their faith. They do such things out of ignorance and unbelief. We want to give it all the honor it is truly due. It is The Law of The Lord! One thing that we can most importantly take away from The Law is the influence it had on the formation of Western Civilization. The Bible and Christianity, is the very bedrock of Western Civilization, as I will point out and emphasize.
With the Exodus 20 passage, God introduces Himself to His people. While there had been all kinds of manifestations of His power before this, especially beginning with Exodus 7, He here gives a revelation of Himself to the nation. These heard the voice of the Lord their God. The experience was terrifying and intended to forever indelibly impress upon them that their God was a holy God, altogether righteous, just and pure; totally unlike the many false gods of all the people around them. The greatest usefulness of The 10 Commandments for us today is to ask another, “Do you think you are good enough to go to heaven?” Since most actually think or hope that they are, you can easily enough take that person thru the 9th, 8th, 5th or 3rd Commandments and have a person confess that they have lied, stolen, been disobedient to parents and sworn. By making application of the 6th and 7th Commandments, in the manner that Jesus did in Matthew 5:21-30, it’s easy enough to get another to admit, that according to Jesus’ use of these, they are murderers and adulterers at heart, as well. In very short order, a person can be given an understanding that they cannot fare well in the Judgment, as they will have admitted to be in violation of as many as 6 of The 10 Commandments! Perhaps the primary purpose and usefulness of the Law today is to show an unbelieving sinner that they are truly in deep need of the Savior, as Paul states in Galatians 3:24. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell