Rather than focusing on these commandments as obligations, we are exploring what they teach us about the nature of God. We acknowledge a God who loves us and desires a covenantal relationship with us. This relationship requires us to trust God and to keep God at the center of our lives. The commandments establish this covenantal relationship and God’s expectations.
Today, we reflect on the remaining six commandments, which concern relationships with other people. Again, we will ponder what these commandments teach us about God and how God intends us to live. We immediately observe the interrelatedness of the two sets of commandments. The commandments that help us consider relationship with neighbor grow out of the four that focus on our relationship with God.
Just as God desires a loving, caring relationship with us, so God expects that we will enter into a loving, caring relationship with our neighbors. The individual commandments develop the contours of this covenant. The broad, generic fashion in which these commandments are stated suggests that we as individuals assume responsibility for developing the implications within our particular context.
Consider the last commandment against coveting. On the surface, it seems directed against a general covetousness of others’ possessions. Reflecting more deeply from our present context, we may determine that a relentless consumerism stokes covetousness in our society. Left unchecked, this covetousness tempts us to see others as means to more stuff, rather than as ends in themselves. Further, covetousness encourages us to place stuff at the center of our lives, pushing God to the margins.
Choose a commandment and reflect on its implications for contemporary life and covenant relationships. Pray for the strength to uphold the commandment.
As we continue in the season of Lent, we remember another important chapter in salvation history. Just as God established covenants with Noah and Abraham and their descendants, so did God renew the relationship with the Israelites by giving them the law. Obedience to the law was not the means of earning God’s love, but a response of love by the people to the love God had already shown them. The psalmist understands that God’s law creates a cause for rejoicing, for it is more valuable than gold. Both Paul and John address situations in which some had distorted the worship of God. Either they considered themselves too good for the gospel (1 Corinthians), or they had violated the covenant by altering proper worship for the sake of profit (John).
• Read Exodus 20:1-17. How do you keep God central in your life? When do you relegate God to the margins?
• Read Psalm 19. What do the heavens tell you? How often do you spend time in nature? In what ways does that activity renew your spirit?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. In what ways is the cross a stum-
bling block to you?
• Read John 2:13-22. What signs do you ask of God? In what ways might they be life-giving, a renewal of relationship with the Creator?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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