The Bible Teacher's Commentary
C) Our Special Relationship (Deuteronomy 5:22-33)
This is the second time the ten commandments were given. The first was in Exodus 20. Right after the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus, many other statutes were given regarding sacrifice, health and other areas of life. They are not immediately given here. There is a reason for this.
Moses is trying to help the people get on a right footing with God. He is sharing about God’s love and patience so that they would desire a relationship with the Lord. ￼They had seen many miracles and examples of His power through the past years, but they have not really understood God’s person. Because of this, they misinterpreted God’s motives. They looked at God as a severe judge. They forgot about all that God was doing to create a relationship with them. All along God wanted to have a close relationship with people.
We want to examine this a bit more closely because our belief in God is strongly impacted by what we believe about Him. We have already discussed our first two points. Let me recap here as they both are important in establishing a proper understanding of God toward us.
God really cares about us! Although their fathers were rebellious and destroyed, God did not destroy them all. Instead He is willing and desirous for them to do better than their fathers. So the Lord is offering this same covenant to them. God will honor His part.
God highlights what He expects. No tricks here. There are certain minimum requirements by which the people must live. God wants spiritual faithfulness. No place for idols. He also must constrain how the people would live if He would not destroy them.
God is going out of His way to draw the people to Himself. Let us go on and see what else we discover in the rest of this chapter, Deuteronomy 5:22-33, and better understand what kind of God He is and what kind of relationship He wants to have with us.
1) Personal address (Deuteronomy 5:22)
God spoke to these people. He has not spoken to many people. If He comes close to any group of people, then His wrath comes to play. But under the covenant, man is somewhat protected. This occasion here becomes a most special time when God through Moses is entreating the people to devote their lives to Him. He speaks and does not judge. His words convey a willingness to impart special wisdom and insight to the people for their well being.
2) Serious words (Deuteronomy 5:22)
The Lord Himself wrote these commands on two tablets of stone. They were permanent and long-lasting. They were given in an impressive way: including with fire, cloud and a great voice (22). The Lord went out of His way to communicate with man and when He did so, He related some very important things.
3) Needed Moses’ help (Deuteronomy 5:23-27)
The people admitted their need for Moses, the Mediator. They requested Moses to speak and listen to God on their behalf. It is not that God had stopped speaking to them but that they requested God to speak through Moses to them. God is not far away but nearby. A look at what has happened in the past often helps clarify why things are the way they are. We are to be careful of drawing false conclusions.
4) The Lord’s Desire for them (Deuteronomy 5:28-29)
Obedience brings great blessings to those who live faithfully under the covenant and their families forever! The commands are linked up to our welfare, not just to keep us in place. Raising godly children has everything to do with leading one’s children to character change so that they might live beautiful lives.
‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:28-29).
5) An Important reminder (Deuteronomy 5:32-33)
The people were given God’s laws to obey them. They were not to turn to the side and ignore them or modify them. Obedience has everything to do with living a long life in the land that they were to go to. We can see this come true in Joshua and Caleb’s life. Obedience makes a pleasant difference.
We are amazed that God would spend time with these Israelites. Remember a correct view of God is essential! If we think God is unjust, unloving, not caring, etc., we will not approach God. Instead we will be defensive. If He speaks, we will feel threatened. Moses’ major point is that God wants to help not hurt us.
Instead, we should look forward to developing a deeper relationship with God. He has taken the first needed step. Or perhaps we should say the first, second and third steps. The needed commands have been revealed. God’s glory shown. And even though the first generation fumbled, God has picked up the ball and handed it to the second generation so they can make a great play.
Where does your faith in this great God need to grow and improve? Where do you doubt God and even sometimes even despair? Is it over your past failures? Your family or church’s failures?
Let’s step back and see how the Old Testament is fulfilled in a greater way through Christ.
A) The Call to join the covenant.￼
We have heard about evangelism and have been evangelized. We have heard the proclaimed good news. We have heard how God has beckoned us to join Him in His New Covenant through Jesus. How does it work? We have hope of eternal life and intimacy with God through Jesus. He died for our sins.
We believe upon Him and we are rescued from slavery in Satan’s hands. Otherwise we will die with the evil one. There is no middle ground. Either a servant of God who made you or a pawn in the hand of the self-seeking destroyer who has already been judged. Only his sentence not fully executed.
In the Old Testament we have laws but here we have Christ leading us far beyond any law by a life of devotion to God and a life of love. Paul said there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. God’s heart of love has been released in our lives.
We see God’s love so clearly manifested in His Son. He gave His best so that we could join Him in His great work. Wonderful grace. Awesome life.
“You are My friends, if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14-15).
Can we hold back our devotion to God? If we do, we will break the covenant. That which is to protect and help us becomes a curse upon us. We cannot as some claim only have Jesus as Savior and not Lord. Obedience is the prize of our calling. If we disdain obedience, then we have no real love for His holiness and probably do not have His Spirit in us. “Trust in the Lord with all your hearts!”
Even though we are slaves, The Lord treats us as friends. He really does want us to draw near to Him and trust Him!
Deuteronomy 8 discusses how to have a vibrant Christian life.