What about the Ten Commandments?
If I think about the Ten Commandments, what instantly comes to mind are stone tablets, Charlton Heston and the deep, authoritative, all-powerful, voice of God.
So when I say the ten commandments are actually a “love letter written in stone” it might make one pause.
A love letter?
A love letter written in stone?
Who’s ever written a love letter in stone?!
In the all-powerful voice of Charlton Heston, God himself did. In fact, it is the only time in history where we can see the handwriting from the same hands that formed the mountains and put the stars into place. He physically wrote something to us that is specifically for us. Before the days of text, chat, snap and email, if a man wanted to pursue someone fond to his heart, he would pour out his affection with pen and ink. On the top of Mount Sinai, God did the same thing as he wrote down His love for us in stone. In turn, we see a jealous type of love, one that chases after us, pulls us out of slavery and offers more than any person or deity could ever offer.
A Comparison to Marriage
Over the centuries, we have misinterpreted His “thou shall nots” into rules and laws. By doing so we miss the heart and purpose behind what happened that day on the mountaintop. This was never the intention of the Father. These commandments were given as a road map for how we ought to live. Two areas are addressed surrounding our connectedness as human beings. We are to live in relationship with God as well as in relationship with one another.
For example, we do not give ourselves lightly in marriage. We commit to accepting our spouse as they are, staying faithful in sickness and in health and publicly outlining the expectations of our commitment through our vows. Since we do this in marriage, how much more should we intentionally pursue a relationship with a loving God who is constantly championing us on to greatness? He is jealous for our heart so much so that he sent his only son to prove our worthiness.
It is a beautiful thing, knowing there is nothing we could ever do or say that would change God’s attitude towards us.We need to stop trying to earn our way into salvation and quit hustling for this worthiness.
We serve a God who loves us through the process right where we are. He is not asking us to wait to engage in relationship with him once we’ve “figured it out or cleaned up our act”. Remember, He was the one who brought the slaves out of Egypt. He wasn’t waiting for them in the Promised Land, He was walking with them, guiding and providing for them along the way.
A Comparison to Parenting
When I was a kid, my parents were strict. They were always instructing and teaching me how to behave and interact with others, whether that was at home, school, church, or out in public. If I didn’t do what they said, I would be punished. As I got older, I felt like there was more I couldn’t do than what I was allowed to do!
Now that I am a parent, my wife and I have established our own rules for how our kids are to behave and interact with others at home and out in the world. We don’t do this because we are heartless, authoritative dictators, we do this out of love. We establish boundaries and guides for how they should live, because frankly, we know what is best for them. If we gave our four-year-old everything he ever asked for, it wouldn’t be long before he hurt himself. This natural instinct to try and bite off more than we can chew doesn’t stop with age. If we look at an 18-year-old, they probably want even more responsibility than they can handle. The older you get the easier it becomes to look back on your life and see the times you asked God to fill every desire of your heart but because he had your best interest in mind, He didn’t always grant your wishes. He knew what was best for you and probably showed up in ways you never expected.
If God is our Heavenly Father, our creator, all-knowing, mighty and powerful, how much more does He know what is best for us? Are we willing to let go of all of our preconceived notions of what we think things should look like and trust the one who loved us first, the one who loved us best – our good, good Father?
If we begin to think about the ten commandments from this perspective, we begin to see His true heart and love for us. When we experience that love, we no longer perform out of law, we perform out of His great love. This, my friends, changes everything.
Albert Tate is the founder and lead pastor of Fellowship Monrovia, a gospel-centered, multiethnic, intergenerational church. Albert is a dynamic communicator passionate about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Youth Institute and was recently published in Letters to a Birmingham Jail: A Response to the Words and Dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Albert and his wife, LaRosa, have three children, Zoe, Bethany, and Isaac.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.