2/4/16: Ten Down to Two
In the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell, the animals decide to stage a mutiny against the humans and take over the farm because the humans treated them so badly. They came up with “7 Rules of the Farm” by which they all would live. However, some of the animals were not able to remember all the rules, so the animal-leaders reduced those rules to two that were the most important.
Jesus has done that for us when it comes to our Ten Commandments. Exodus chapter 20 lists The Big Ten:
- You shall have no other gods before me. (vs. 3)
- You shall not make for yourself a carved image…you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. (vss. 4 – 5)
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (vs. 7)
- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (vs. 8)
- Honor your father and your mother. (vs. 12)
- You shall not murder. (vs. 13)
- You shall not commit adultery. (vs. 14)
- You shall not steal. (vs. 15)
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (vs. 16)
- You shall not covet…anything that is your neighbor’s. (vs.17)
Now this is a very concise list; there’s nothing hard at all about understanding it. In fact, when you think about it, God has made following Him pretty simple by breaking things down for us into these 10 simple rules. Still, by Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had made things so complicated that they thought it was a good idea to question Jesus about which Commandment was the greatest. Jesus answered them by saying:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJ).
Jesus broke the ten down to two, making following God even easier. You see, first, if we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, we won’t have any other gods before us, we won’t make graven images of Him, we won’t take His name in vain, and we’ll remember to keep His Sabbaths holy. In other words, our entire being will want to do nothing else but glorify Him. This, after all, is what we were created for in the first place, as it is written in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (KJV).
Second, if we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will honor our parents, and we won’t murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet.
With this reminder about the Ten Commandments (or the Two Commandments), it’s probably a good idea to check ourselves on the how-are-we-doing-as-believers meter. Let’s go down the list of Commandments and ask ourselves the hard questions relating to each. For example, ask, “Are there other gods in my life that I have placed as more important than the God of heaven? To what am I bowing my knees? How have I honored by father and mother (or their memory) today? From whom have I stolen? (Bootleg CD’s count here.) Etc.
By obeying the two, we obey the ten. Let’s get with it.
©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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