What’s the meaning of the word – “commandment”?- This word is a noun and it means “an important rule given by God that tells people how to behave. It is a charge, a decree, a command, an order or instruction given by God to His creation – man whom He made in His own image.(Gen.1:26a)
Now what are these commandments God Gave to us?
We are going to view the ten commandments God gave to His children and see if there are some insights we can derive from them as to guide our daily lives or paths and have a better living with those in our neighborhood first which will translate with time to affect our communities then to the entire world making it a better place to live in.
Exodus 20: 3-17 gives an account of the ten commandments which shall be highlighted here-under:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me;
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a Jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all they work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, they manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
- Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
- Thou shalt not kill
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not steal
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
- Thou shall not covet they neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
The Bible stated in verse 18 that “all the people saw the thunderings and the lghtnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they remove and stood afar off. The thunderings from God’s voice or words who can withstand it or them? No one hence it is expected to listen, learn and obey His voice or commandments.
Why Do I have to state the entire ten commandments or its purpose?
This is to remind us once more of and or define our duties and relationship towards God and with Man(who is our neighbor, our relative, our friend, our communities; nation and the world at large).
What are those duties we owe God and Man?
- To Our God is Love, honor, reverence, obedience to His commands and to do His will all the days of our lives. We are going to cite some bible passages to confirm this. John 14: 15, 21 reported thus: If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to Him. Also Deut. 6:5 stated thus: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The love you render to God should be total because it has to be done with your entire being. Hear what the Greatest teacher and our master Jesus said when questioned about which commandment was greatest. He summarized the ten commandments into two as seen in Matt.22:37 – 40; ” …Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. So we can see the importance of that word Love. So it is also to our neighbor. Let’s see what we have to do for him. It is not only love although it is the greatest; but also God desires our belief in Him, trust, to set aside time to worship only Him the true and faithful God, pray and to study His words/ways
- To Man, love your neighbor as you love yourself and to do to others what you would wish them do unto you(Matt.22:39; Luke 6:31). And I want to ask a question here. Is there anyone on earth who hates himself or does not love himself? This question is for us all to ponder on.
- We have to love, honor and help our parents and family; to honor those in authorities and to meet their just demands.
- To show respect for the life God has given us; to continually pray for peace; to bear no malice on anyone; prejudice or hatred in our hearts; and to be kind to all the creation of God as well as use our bodily desires as God intended;
- To be honest and fair in all our dealings with all men; to seek justice, freedom, and the necessities of life for all people; and to use our talents and possessions as one who must give account and answer for them to God
- As humans, we must be honest and speak the truth at all times and not to mislead others by our silence; and to resist temptations to envy, greed, and jealousy but to rejoice in other people’s gifts and graces; and to do our duty for the love of God who has called us into fellowship with him. (Some of these are culled from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer p.847). These were things I learnt from childhood and to deviate from loving and put on some other character into my life has been a very difficult one which I still pray God should continue to uphold me in His ways to remain loving no matter what comes my way. Loving unto Him and to all His creation- most importantly to man(His image).
For the bible makes me to understand in Leviticus 19: from 16 down to 18 that, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor; I am the Lord. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; I am the Lord.
This is God instructing us all on how to live with our neighbors. Yes, initially it was directed to His chosen race but now through Christ we have been made heirs and co-heirs and are recipient of Abraham’s blessings as well as becoming Abraham’s children hence all rules and commandments are pointed and or are directed to everyone created by God.
Another passage of interest is that reported in Romans 12: 17-21 which says: “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” This shows that no matter what happens in life’s journey, we must keep on loving, caring and provide things of necessities to our neighbors at all times when it is in our power to do so.
We shall also look at Romans 13: 8 – 10 which says: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Every where you turn what it says is love. Love God and love Man.
In IJohn 4:8,16 says “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God hath for us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” So many books, chapters and verses abound concerning how we ought to love God.
First is loving God with all our heart, mind/soul. Second, love your brother/sister/family members- especially in their needs/wants when God has filled you with His goodness. Our duty is to render assistance – although a lot of people have taken this kind gesture rendered to mean foolishness of the person and have caused so much harm on such benevolent hearts- in some cases caused death of such people hence the restraint in people’s lives, yet we are admonished to continue in well doing.
I John 4:20-21 continues;”if a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also”.
If we allow the fear of God which was experienced on the day these commandments were given to remain fervently in us, we would not hurt or plot any evil against anyone nor negate God’s commandments against Him or man as they are these days.
Do you fear those things happening these days whether natural or man-made. The bible is clear about the last days and their signs and how the love of many will wax cold including the love for God because men will be lovers of themselves and hear those things they want to hear and not things of God hence even in His presence people’s ears are itchy and complaining of lengthy services and sermons in that one day you have to come to His presence and worship Him. It is only Him that will deliver us.
Someone may ask who is my neighbor?
I thank God no man can be an island, we all need each other for one purpose or the other. “Neighbor” here does not necessarily mean those living around us but the generality of people.
Hear how Jesus explains who a neighbor is by citing the story of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel according to Luke 10: 25-37. The Bible mentioned that a certain lawyer stood up as to test Jesus and asked: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life”? and Jesus responded and said “what does the law of God state – and the lawyer of course knows the law so he responded intelligently to Jesus by saying “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. And Jesus praised him for the correctness of his response and requested that he should go and do as he has stated so that he could live.
But the man wanting to justify himself asked Jesus again, “And who is my neighbor”? There and then Jesus cited this case of a certain man who was going from Jerusalem to Jericho and was attacked by thieves who stripped him naked, wounded him and left him half dead. He said that, by chance a priest came to that road, when he saw this man lying down half dead, the priest took another way; likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side of the road. This is what is happening today – no more show of love nor compassion to anyone that is suffering or dying. If we must show love, there must be reward we are getting from such service(s).
Let’s see it to the end- i.e the last scenario of the story- verse 33 says But a certain Samaritan, as he journey, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine and set him on his own animal; brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave to the Inn Keeper and said to him, “Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you. When Jesus has finished his story he asked the lawyer “Which of there three do you think was neighbor to the man that fell among the thieves?”. And the lawyer responded “He who showed mercy on him” Then Jesus told him to Go and do likewise.
Showing mercy, being compassionate to one another is what the law of God and even every land demands – ie. showing love to your family, sharing, eating together in lack; when in need and wants; when there is love water that is everywhere when it is taken in given and taken in love brings peace to the receiver as a result of that love, compassion and mercy shown in sharing.
Water is no more ordinary people have realized its importance as life giver hence so much is being expended to get it for our daily needs.
Let’s revisit our ten commandments and explain how to love God with all our hearts, body, soul and spirit and also love our neighbors as ourselves.
Of course if you love your neighbor as you love yourself, you will not want him dead or murder him for any reason; you will not rob him, covet any thing of his; you will not deceive him or lie to him
First is to Love God then your neighbor. This is all that is required of us for God Himself is Love; and He loved us with an everlasting love even in our sinful nature hence He said Isaiah 1:18, Come now, and let us reason together, though your sins be like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. After giving us this invitation he still sent to us his Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
So what do we need to do?
Just believe in His son Jesus, whom he sent to the world who took over our infirmities or sinful nature, and died on the cross of Calvary so that whenever we look up to Him – we are saved. The Bible stated in Hebrews 12:2 that: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Also Repent and be transformed because that was the essence of Christ coming so that He will reconcile us back to our Creator- God.
Let’s conclude this discussion by citing some passages regarding God’s love towards mankind: 1John 2: 3-11 stated thus: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps Hi word, truly the Love of God is perfected in him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness had blinded his eyes.
Again, 1 John 3:1, 11, 15 – 18 reported thus: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue but in deed and in truth.
Will greed, selfishness etc; in every sphere of life allow us to love in deed and in truth? Even something you are qualified to have or are entitled to are being denied you right before your face. So it seems too difficult for some to practice this word called “Love” because they refused to let go what they held onto forgetting that everything here is temporary. If we all can genuinely love our neighbors that may be too far, lets bring this closer, our brothers and sisters and be willing to do what’s best within our power, then the love of God dwells in us. In our offices, churches, neighborhoods and wherever we find ourselves, let the love of God radiate through us so that Christ will be lifted up and the name of God will be highly exalted.
Let us examine some characteristics of this word Love
Love is considered as the greatest gift. Hear what the Bible says concerning it as stated in I Corinthians 13:1 to the end and paraphrased in some cases; “Though I speak in
tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though i have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; it does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth; loves bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away…. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three but the greatest is love.”
That is the nature and importance of love. Let’s love and make this world a better place this is the mind of God concerning His creation on this earth. Living in Love with all Creation for the love of God to be manifested in us.
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