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Chapter 5:5-21 (ESV)

Posted on February 07, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 5:5-21 (ESV) - He said:

“‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“‘You shall have no other gods before me.

“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

“‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

“‘You shall not murder.

“‘And you shall not commit adultery.

“‘And you shall not steal.

“‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“‘And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.’

Question to consider: What part of God’s words in today’s passage is gospel?

In today’s passage, Moses reiterated the words of God which were the stipulations of the covenant God made with Israel regarding the land they were about to possess. We like to number the commandments for the sake of reference, but just because we have assigned numbers to them as separate commandments doesn’t mean that each commandment is independent of the others.

All of them stem from God’s gospel declaration that He is their God and that He was the one who delivered them from the Egyptians. I would argue that the repetition of the idea that God delivered them from Egypt was a literary tool to emphasize that the commands in between the repeated statements pertained to how Israel was to respond to God in delivering them.

Thus, they were to have no other gods. God elaborated on this statement by saying it meant that they were not to make carved images of anything in creation and use them as a means of worship. Furthermore, they were to honor Him by keeping His name holy on their lips. To use His name in vain was to make it common or use it in a way that caused people to curse Him or think something false about Him.

Finally, God closes out this idea of worship by having them set aside a day to worship Him and rest from their labor. Resting from their labor would ultimately point to the eternal rest we would have in Christ, but it also was to remind Israel that they were no longer slaves. A slave had to work seven days a week without rest, and God had delivered them from slavery.

I would argue that the rest of God’s commands seem to stem from the honoring of father and mother so that life will go well in the land. The family is of course the cornerstone of society. The parents serve as God’s physical representative to the children in the family, and the children honor their family name by how they love their neighbor. The commands defining this “honoring” are tied together with the conjunction “and”. While the commands can be summed up as, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself,” we could rightly say the hinge between our love of God and love of neighbor is in honoring our father and mother.


Dear heavenly Father, we confess that we live in a world today that does not honor the role You have established for father and mother. Help us to be set apart from the world in this and seek to honor our spouses and parents in a way that glorifies You. When we fail, help us to be merciful and forgiving toward one another in Jesus’ name. Amen.