[CF Devotionals] 2009-11-01 - The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments Series, Part 1

"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." Isaiah 4:28
"When the Israelites went into Canaan, they confronted this perversion in the form of paganism. Along with primitive peoples everywhere, the Canaanites greatly depended on natural forces. In such societies, everyone keenly understands that you have to sow the seed at the right time, that the temperature has to be right, that rain needs to come at the proper time, and that soil must be fertile in order to result in a good harvest. Such people recognize what we in our modern technological society forget: We cannot survive in our world without these powerful natural forces.

The primitive people of Canaan tried to identify these natural forces and decided they had the power of deities. When the primitive Canaanites heard the thunder rumble, they called it the deity of thunder. When they saw the sun shine, they saw a god behind the sun. They recognized gods of fertility and fecundity. Soon they ended up with thousands of gods, all clamoring for attention. Using their perverted religious instinct, they had put together two and two and came up with five—a pantheon of deities that formed the basis of their paganism.

The Canaanites believed that the gods of fertility and gods of the crops had to be appeased and placated, and there was a clear link, in their thinking, between the fertility of the soil and the fertility of their wives. In other words, crops and sex became almost synonymous. The worship of the gods of fertility became a worship of sexuality. In their perverted ingenuity, they produced all kinds of wonderfully perverted sexual activities in the name of religion. As a result, John Bright, a respected and renowned Old Testament scholar, says, "Canaanite religion presents us with no pretty picture. It was an extraordinarily debasing form of paganism." 1

And it was in preparation for this culture that God chose to give the commandments prior to Israel entering the Promised Land.

Today we start with the first of the Ten Commandments. This one seems to be one of the clearest and the most self-evident; therefore our focus will be on how to make it relevant to our lives, since most of us are not into polytheism.

Before we get into the commandment proper, there are a couple of introductory verses to the passage. They are the Lord's own introduction to the Commandments, as He gives them to the nation Israel. He reminds them Who He is. It is on the basis that He is God, that He gives the Law. It is his unique relationship with the Hebrews that is the foundation of a formal legal system. He reminds them He is the one Who brought them out of slavery in Egypt, and their response to Him should therefore be based on what they know of Him.

Application: It is this same basis we have been considering in our prayer life, that is, what the Lord has been doing in our lives, what blessings He has provided us, the first and foremost being salvation, or the numerous others such as: health, shelter, food, children, family, etc. Are there any special blessings that you can think of that you would like to give the Lord praise?

It is all the Lord is, that is the basis of our relationship with Him. Our focus is to be on Him - not ourselves - if we truly desire to walk as the Lord would have us. It is therefore the issue of who God is that makes up the underlying framework of the first commandment.

  1. Brisco, Stuart, The Ten Commandments – Playing By The Rules, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, Il, 1993, p. 6.

Series to be continued.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
Podcasts of Studies in Matthew can be found at www.GKragen.com