Monday, December 10, 2012

Jesse Tree: December 10

December 10
Hang ornament with Tablets

Today we will be hanging the ornament with the tablets.  I bet you all can guess the topic for today’s devotion!  The Ten Commandments!
In the third month after the amazing flight to Egypt, the Israelites came into the wilderness of a place called Sinai, and they set up camp in front of Mt. Sinai.  In Exodus chapter 20, verses 1-17, we read what God spoke to Moses:  
20 Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
During several devotions we have gone over our questions and answers, which we call “catechism.”  At one time we had memorized all of the 10 commandments and several other questions and answers about the 10 commandments.  I think it will be helpful to use those catechism questions to help us with today’s devotion.   (*If your family is not familiar with the Catechism for Boys and Girls, you can just turn the questions and answers into sentences.)
Q: How many commandments did God give Moses on Mt. Sinai?                                                 A: 10 Commandments
Q: What are the ten commandments sometimes called?                                                    A: God’s moral law
Q:  What do the first four commandments teach?                                                     A:  Our duty to God
Q:  What do the last six commandments teach?                                                     A:  Our duty to our fellow man
Q:  What is the sum of the ten commandments?                                                       A:  To love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself
Q: Who is your neighbor?                                                                A:  All my fellow man is my neighbor
Next, the catechism goes on to quiz about each of the commandments.  I am just going to read through the summaries of each of the commandments. 
  • The first commandment teaches us to worship God only.  
  • The second commandment teaches us to worship God in the right way and to avoid idolatry.
  • The third commandment teaches us to reverence God’s name, word, and works.
  • The fourth commandment teaches us to keep the Sabbath holy.  
  • The fifth commandment teaches us to love and obey our parents.
  • The sixth commandment teaches us to avoid hatred.
  • The seventh commandment teaches us to be pure in heart, language, and conduct.
  • The eight commandment teaches us to be honest and not to take the things of others.
  • The ninth commandment teaches us to tell the truth and not speak evil of others.
  • The tenth commandment teaches us to be content with what we have.  
Those summaries can help us to better understand just what God’s expectations are.  Here are the last two questions about the ten commandments, and we will wrap this up:
Q: Can any man keep these ten commandments perfectly?                                                        A:  No mere man, since the fall of Adam, ever did or can keep the ten commandments perfectly.
Q: Of what use are the ten commandments to us?                                                     A:  They teach us our duty and show us our need of a Savior.
That last line is the key to understanding why we would hang an ornament with the ten commandments.  We can never perfectly keep the law of God, and yet we are held accountable to the law of God.  God’s law, which is both in our hearts and in writing, points us to our need for Christ.  
As we see that we can NEVER measure up to God’s standards, we must not become more determined to try harder... NO!  We must see that Christ is the only One who has kept the law, and that we must be found in Christ and covered with His righteousness to be right with God.  
After we become Christians, do you think we can just live any way we want, since we can’t keep the law perfectly?  NO!  God’s moral law used to be a burden on our back, but now it is a guide in our hand, pointing us to our continual need for Christ and helping us know how to best honor him with our lives. 
As we think about the ten commandments, let us remember just how much we need the Savior for whom we are waiting!   

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