Ten Commandments display at the Texas State Capitol in Austin (from Ten Commandments – Wikipedia).

In the first post of this series, we discussed Why and how Christians Respect The Rights Of Their Neighbors. Here we will look at the first four of The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway).

What Rights Do The First Four Of The Ten Commandments protect?

What are the first four of The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway) about? These commandments focus on the love and respect we owe to God.

Exodus 20:1-11 New American Standard Bible

20 Then God spoke all these words, saying,

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

“You shall have no other gods [b]before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself [c]an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the [d]punishment of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing [e]favor to thousands, to 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 [f]leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male slave or your female slave, or your cattle, or your [g]resident who [h]stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; for that reason the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Most of the text of The Ten Commandments (Bible Gateway) is devoted to commandments that require us to love and respect our Creator. Why? We were made to give glory to God. It is God, not our self or any other human being, who gives our lives purpose and significance. If we don’t take God seriously, our existence becomes futile because it is meaningless.

Futile. Meaningless. Vain. Hopeless. The Book of Ecclesiastes is devoted to one subject, the futility of a life without God. With beautifully chosen and hauntingly sad words, King Solomon explains how he tried to live most his long life without loving, honoring, and obeying God. Eventually, he realized that in spite of his power, his riches, and his wisdom that his life without God was hopeless, vain, meaningless, and futile.

Unfortunately, before he knew his mistake, Solomon had become an old man, too old to undo what he had already done. All he could is point to his mistakes and ask others to learn from his wasted life.

And so the book begins.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 New American Standard Bible

The Futility of All Endeavors

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Futility of futilities,” says the Preacher,

“Futility of futilities! All is futility.”

What advantage does a person have in all his work

Which he does under the sun?

A generation goes and a generation comes,

But the earth [a]remains forever.

Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;

And [b]hurrying to its place it rises there again.

6 [c]Blowing toward the south,

Then turning toward the north,

The wind continues [d]swirling along;

And on its circular courses the wind returns.

All the rivers [e]flow into the sea,

Yet the sea is not full.

To the place where the rivers [f]flow,

There they [g]flow again.

All things are wearisome;

No one can tell it.

The eye is not satisfied with seeing,

Nor is the ear filled with hearing.

What has been, it is what will be,

And what has been done, it is what will be done.

So there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one might say,

“See this, it is new”?

It has already existed for ages

Which were before us.

11 There is no remembrance of the [h]earlier things,

And of the later things as well, which will occur,

There will be no remembrance of them

Among those who will come later still.

Why the focus on the sun? What is “life under sun”? This is the phrase Solomon uses to refer to life without God. Even upon this small, tiny speck, our little home that we call Earth, not even the greatest of us will be long remembered. Hence Solomon ends The Book of Ecclesiastes with this passage.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New American Standard Bible

13 The conclusion, when everything has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

What does it mean to fear God? Are we suppose to live in absolute terror of God? If we love God, no, but we must revere and worship God above all else. We must believe He exists and cares about us, and we must understand that our existence has meaning only if He chooses to give us purpose.

Therefore, consider again what the first four commandments require of us.

  • You shall have no other gods before Me. That is, we must put God first in our lives.
  • 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. Our ancestors worshipped statues made of wood, stone, and metal. The supposedly advanced Pagans of this era worship entertainment and political personalities, make-believe and propaganda on a silver screen, and that is just as self deluding and wrong.
  • 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. When we curse the Creator because His Creation does not serve us as we wish, we fail to show our Lord proper reverence. We put our own foolish desires ahead of the Will of our Lord.
  • Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. God requires us to set aside one day out of seven to honor, glorify and worship Him. And how do we honor, glorify, and worship our Lord? We rest and give thanks to God.

Our Creator requires each of us to voluntarily and freely love and obey Him, to put Him first in our lives. Voluntarily and freely? Was not ancient Israel a theocracy? Yes, but the New Testament is a new covenant. The Apostle Peter explained the difference.

Acts 15:6-11 New American Standard Bible

6 The apostles and the elders came together to [a]look into this [b]matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “[c]Brothers, you know that [d]in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Since this is the case, why are you putting God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our forefathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

Without the gift of the Holy Spirit — without the grace of the Lord Jesus — we cannot obey God, and no amount of government power can change that. Do not fallible human beings run governments? When our leaders cannot make themselves obey God, how can they make us obey God?

The best we can do is to protect each others right to worship our Lord as we each believe appropriate. That is why those who founded our government added the First Amendment to our Constitution.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Bill of Rights: A Transcription | National Archives – (Amendment I)

Imagine politicians — men we now dignify as being true statesmen — choosing to limit their own powers. Look around the world. Consider the past. See how unusual it is for the strong allow the weak to establish their own religious institutions. See how rare it is for those in power to allow their neighbors the right to freely practice their own religious beliefs.

The men who founded the United States restrained their greed for power. With unheard of modesty, they allowed their neighbors the right to freedom of religion. It is for such self restraint that the founders of this nation thanked God.

To Be Continued

  • Part 3: What Rights Do The Last Six Of The Ten Commandments protect?
  • Part 4: What Does The Bible Say About All Men Being Created Equal?
  • Part 5: How Do We Fix This Mess?
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  1. Tom.

    Great Post. message. I am looking forward to you next Poss.
    Our Nations leaders are indeed in the same mode of repeating the same folly as previous generations. Worse yet, is many Legislators have never attended a religious school and have no in depth understanding of the Ten Commandments, King Solomon the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Bible and even the Constitution.

    In my opinion, the words called out 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ was hung on a cross and uttered these words.

    “”Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”.


    Regards amd goodwill blogging.

    “:Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  2. boudicaus says:

    Reblogged this on boudica.us and commented:
    H/T Citizen Tom


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