A daily break to celebrate our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus) and our abundant life through the Torah

The 10 Commandments: A List or a Lifestyle? (5-10)

Walk in the WoodsAt the end of Deuteronomy there’s a blessing for those who keep the commandments described throughout the book.  The summary of them is in Deuteronomy 5, known as the 10 Commandments.   But these commands are more than what we typically think of when we hear that reference–more than a list of do’s and don’ts, more than a checklist of how we’ve done in being a good person.  These commandments describe a lifestyle in alignment with God’s character and heart and His will for us.  In this 2-part blog, we’re looking at the lifestyle behind each command to see just how this blessing comes about as we align with Him. 

Read Commandments 1-4.

The 5th Commandment 
(Deut 5:16)

“Honor your father and mother, as Adonai your God ordered you to do, so that you will live long and have things go well with you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.”

We understand what honoring our father and mother means, but that’s just a summary of all the commands about honoring the leadership God has appointed over us.  The details of this commandment are in Deuteronomy chapters 16-18 and include:

  • Appointing judges
  • Deciding cases of injustice
  • The priests’ role in deciding cases
  • Appointing a king
  • The warning against depending on sorcerers, conjurers or diviners
  • Obeying the prophets

This commandment is about submitting to all the leadership God puts in place in our lives.  Remember Romans 13:1 tells us:  “For there is no authority that is not from God, and the existing authorities have been placed where they are by God.”

In many cases this is hard to believe, let alone apply.  Sometimes our leaders aren’t good at their jobs.  Sometimes their leadership and decisions cause us to regress instead of progress.  We may not share their values or respect them personally.

For those of you who follow Rabbi Kirt Schneider on the TV program, “Discovering the Jewish Jesus,” you may remember his series that aired a few years ago on submitting to our leaders.  His hypothesis was:  “How we submit to our leaders on earth is how we submit to God.”  That completely shattered my world at the time, because I was not good at submission.  But I watched the whole series and began to practice what he was teaching.  It eventually changed everything for the better – from my relationship with my husband and my boss, clear out to the clerk on duty when I walk into a store.  Knowing that when I stopped judging, arguing or nit-picking another person, I was honoring God’s authority in the situation completely changed the way I related to people.  Life became so much more enjoyable, and I could hear God’s leading more clearly – things actually began to go as He intended.

5.  Submitting to the leaders God puts in our lives doesn’t mean we trust the leader, it means we trust God.

This is a hard concept.  It starts with honoring your mother and father, but it may take us a lifetime to attain.  However, once we start down that road, it is life-changing in our relationships with God and with others.

The 6th Commandment 
(Deut 5:17)

“You shall not murder.”

Like the others, this isn’t only about not killing.  It’s about upholding life at every opportunity.  In describing this command, Deuteronomy 19 covers:

  • Setting up cities of refuge for the murderers to flee to
  • How to go about conquering the towns in the Promised Land and who and when to kill in doing so
  • How to handle disputes in cases of bloodshed

Remember, God is all about life; death was not in his original plan.  Man introduced death on earth.  In Acts 3:15 Yeshua is called “the Author of Life.”  If we are to align with Him, we need to be about not just not killing, but bringing about life in all its forms, including:

  • Life-giving words
  • Loving each other – 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer.”
  • Forgiving others – In Matt. 5:21 Yeshua says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”

Yeshua wasn’t introducing a new command.  That’s what this 6th commandment was about all along.

6.  Bring life into every situation, at every opportunity – whatever that looks like.

The 7th Commandment 
(Deut. 5:18)

“You shall not commit adultery.”

We understand adultery in terms of marriage.   But again, this is speaking of the larger issue of keeping covenants.  Other places discussing keeping our covenants use the word harlotry or prostitute.

For instance, Numbers 15:39 gives the command of wearing tzit tzit (tassels) with the purpose of them being “so that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and eyes are inclined.”  Other translations of that verse use the term “your heart and mind lead you to prostitute yourself.”

There are numerous references to Israel committing adultery – meaning they worshipped other gods.  Jeremiah 3:9 which says, “Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.”  This means they worshipped gods made of stone and wood, as the pagans did.  And we know Hosea was instructed to marry a harlot in order to show the picture of God taking Israel back even though they committed adultery by serving other gods.  This is the seriousness of breaking covenant with God.

7.  Adultery is straying from our covenants – be they with our spouse or with God; to wish for or pursue another.

The 8th Commandment 
(Deut. 5:19)

“You shall not steal.”

Beyond the obvious meaning of stealing, this command encompasses the whole area of taking unfair advantage of a person in any dealings you have – stealing in every sense of the word.

Ephesians 4:28 tells us, “The thief must stop stealing; instead, he should make an honest living by his own efforts.  This way he will be able to share with those in need.”

Obviously the opposite of stealing is giving.  When we focus on giving, stealing becomes a non-issue.  The commandment is about seeing ways we can contribute and add to what’s needed, not holding back what God’s given us—be it our talents, skills, possessions, time–whatever we have to give, sharing it with those in need.

8.  Generosity is the best insurance against taking unfair advantage of another.

The 9th Commandment 
(Deut. 5:20)

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Most people think of lying or slandering, but that’s just one example of this concept.  This command addresses living honestly in every area of your life, acting justly in every situation.

Proverbs 12:17 says, “He who tells the truth furthers justice, but a false witness furthers deceit.”  Furthering deceit includes implying something that is not true, or leading people to believe something untrue – about others or even about ourselves.

What is the opposite of giving false testimony?  The truth.  Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, stripping off falsehood, let everyone speak truth with his neighbor, because we are intimately related to each other as parts of a body.”  In this scripture we see that truth is required in order to build unity in the body.  This is why it’s so important — because of what we sacrifice when we deceive people, and the effect that has on the whole body of Yeshua.

Furthermore, the body of Yeshua should be a place where we can be honest with each other.  A place where we don’t have to put on a happy face when we’re not, where we’re not judging another based on his or her bad days.  It should be a place of safety for us, where we can share our concerns, frustrations or pain and know that we’re safe from slander or gossip.

9.  Upholding justice and truth in every situation; living honestly and allowing others to do the same.

The 10th Commandment
(Deut. 5:21)

“Do not covet your neighbor’s wife; do not covet your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Coveting.  I’ve learned that the opposite of coveting is being content with what you have.  When you believe God is the source of everything you have and everything you’ll ever need, not only can you be content with what you have, knowing that His resources are unlimited—but you can also be happy for your neighbor’s blessings.  Being content is understanding that you have unlimited resources, because you know the Source.  When you believe that, you have nothing to be jealous of

This goes back to previous post I wrote awhile back.  The Israelites were lamenting Egypt, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt — it cost us nothing! — and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic!”  (Numbers 11:4-6) They didn’t understand that where they were going would be so bountiful that they wouldn’t even remember Egypt’s garlic, fish and onions.  God had so much more in store for them.  But they didn’t believe it; they didn’t realize the abundant life God had ahead for them.

We don’t have to lament what we don’t have, because we know who God is.  Nothing compares to His gifts.  He knows how to take care of His children.  He knows how to make our hearts full, and our spirits soar.  And we know what’s ahead.

10.  Being content is understanding that we have unlimited resources; because we know the Source, we have nothing to covet.

The Blessing of the Commandments

The 10 Commandments are a lot to think about.  They aren’t about checking the boxes; they aren’t just a starting point for new believers.  Aligning our lives, our minds and our hearts with the spirit of these commands is a life-long process.  Each step we take in the process puts us that much more in the pathway of God’s blessings.

Remember Deuteronomy 26:16-19:

“The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.  You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him.  And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands.  He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.”

But God’s blessings go beyond human logic.  Here’s an example.

Related Posts

The Dangers of Discontent
The Surprising Results of Submission
Posts about Following God

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