“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2)
The Ten Commandments are beautiful. They were given to the people of Israel, who had been liberated from slavery in Egypt and were being led through the wilderness into a land flowing with milk and honey, full of towns and habitations that they hadn’t built but would be given. They were taken from nothing and were being given everything. They were taken out of death and put into life.
What does life look like for liberated slaves who are being given everything? The Lord knows what is best for them. When they come into the land that the Lord is giving them, this is what they should do and how they should live. In short, they should love God and love their neighbors, and everything will be beautiful and lovely.
We sometimes trick ourselves into believing that things are accidentally bad, that somehow things just ended up like they are and we didn’t have anything to do with it. It is not that we don’t know what to do. We know exactly what we should be doing. World peace? Harmony? Unity? We’ve had the formula for goodness for thousands of years!
The only problem is that we can’t and won’t keep the rules. We are tempted and fooled into thinking that there is something better out there for us. The people of Israel couldn’t fulfill the commandments, and neither can we. No one can. It is only in Christ that we see the beauty of perfection shining forth (Psalm 50:2). He is the picture of goodness, who keeps these beautiful commandments for us. He is the truly liberated One, who leads a host of captives (Ephesians 4:8) into a new world of love, perfection, and holiness, fully realized in the life to come.
The Word of Law and Gospel are the holy Commands God gave to us by Moses’ hands. When high on Sinai’s mount he stood, receiving them for our good. Have mercy, Lord! By our works cannot gain salvation; They merit only endless pain. Forgive us, Lord! To Christ we flee, Who pleads for us endlessly, Have mercy Lord! Amen.