“Then God gave the people all these instructions” (Exodus 20:1 NLT).


Did you know that God actually spoke the Ten Commandments aloud from Mount Sinai for all the Israelites to hear? Before God wrote the Decalogue down onto stone tablets, He actually spoke them aloud from Mount Sinai for all the Israelites to hear. A literal translation of the NLT’s “instructions” is “words” (Hebrew: הַדְּבָרִ֥ים ha-Dabarim “the words”). The Jews therefore refer to them as the Ten Words or Ten Sayings (Hebrew: עֲשֶׂ֖רֶת הַדְּבָרִֽים Aseret ha-Dabarim).
These ten words are beautifully organized into two tablets, the first tablet of words being about how we should love and relate to the Lord God and the second tablet of words are about how we should love and treat our fellow man. This is why Jesus could summarize all the commands with “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” There are around 613 commandments given to the Israelites by God. Yet, all of them are found within the “ten words,” that appear like chapter headings in a table of contents in the beginning of a book. For instance, all the commandments concerning feasts and holidays, might be considered under the “Keep the Sabbath” heading. And all the laws concerning human sexuality might be implied under the “You shall not commit adultery” word.
The wisdom and righteousness of God is revealed in these Ten Words. Yet the only way to satisfy them is to have them written on our hearts by believing in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Living Word. He is the Word that satisfies the Ten Words. Jesus is the only name, the only word, by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12).
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank your for giving us the Ten Words. They show us Your standard for righteousness. Even more, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who has kept the law and offered Himself as payment for our sins. We now have the Ten Words written on our hearts through faith in Jesus. Help us to live today according to Your grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.