God's Ten Words at Sinai and the Ten Things God Said at Creation—Seven Through Ten
This article will study the fourth, fifth, and sixth of the "Ten Words" from Exodus chapter 20, otherwise more commonly known as the Ten Commandments, and connect them with the ten things God says in the creation account.
The more literal rendering of the "Ten Commandments" as "Ten Words" is not meant to imply that these ten things God spoke are simply suggestions. Instead, it adds concreteness to the understanding that what God speaks is of supreme significance and every created thing, but humankind obeys His Word. When God speaks, everything is supposed to listen.
"He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast."
— Psalm 33:9
The summary of the first three Words and Sayings set a firm foundation of the revelation of our need for an established relationship with God through the delivering work of His one and only Son. A necessary element of that relationship includes a setting apart of ourselves for Him by having no other gods, distinguishing Him above all else, and exalting His name rather than tearing it down by representing Him in the way we speak and live.
The fourth, fifth and sixth, Words and "God saids" reminded us to value God as the creator and the source of life (Word four) as well as image our understanding of this in our family relationships by valuing and respecting our earthly creators/parents (Word five). We are to respect the sanctity of life (Word six).
Seventh of the "Ten Words"
"You shall not commit adultery."
— Exodus 20:14
Adultery breaks and fragments what God has joined together.
. . . what God has joined together, let not man separate.
— Mark 10:9
Our human relationships are many times, reflective and symbolic of our relationship with God. Infidelity to one's spouse is symptomatic and symbolic of unfaithfulness to God Himself. The fifth of God's Ten Words taught us that all of our relationships are spiritual.
The number seven in biblical numerics is considered the number of completion and satisfaction; in fact, the Hebrew word "satisfy" is the same as the Hebrew word "seven."
Our first example of adultery in Scripture is illustrated for us in the Garden of Eden. The unfaithful event occurred when the first two inhabitants chose to be satisfied by someone and something other than God and His provision. This act of infidelity opened the door for monumental brokenness and heartache that would carry on throughout the history of humankind, and ultimately separation from the only one who was enough to satisfy.
It is the husband-wife relationship that completes the image that God desired to project in depicting His love.
God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
— Genesis 1:27
. . . they shall become one flesh.
— Genesis 2:24
Adultery mixes up and distorts the portrait of that oneness God desires to have with His people as revealed in Jesus's prayers for His followers.
. . . that they also may be one in Us.
— John 17:21
The Seventh "And God Said"
"Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind."
— Genesis 1:24"According to its kind" is the key phrase here and is further explained in Leviticus.
"You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you."
— Leviticus 19:19
If you mix or breed a horse and donkey, you get a mule, and a mule cannot reproduce, as it is with many animal mixes.
Mixing can come in the form of the modern practice of genetic modification, resulting in plants that cannot reproduce.
The third example is a bit more challenging until we understand that linen was the fabric, a plant product (think fig leaf), of Egypt. Egypt metaphorically represents the sinful world from which we were delivered. Wool is from the sacrificial lamb. And it was a sacrificial "lamb" that delivered both them and us. To mix them made an example of an illicit union. Mixing what has not been joined together produces heartache and separation. Sadly, in terms of family, the most deeply affected by adultery are the children who get broken and fragmented by it, producing a confusing mixture that could be considered "unproductive" in God's eyes.
. . . did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
— Malachi 2:15
The Hebrew word pictograph for adultery shows us this same concept, beginning with the first letter of the Hebrew word "naaph" translated adultery, which is "nun."
"Nun" is a picture of a fish or seed (producing after its kind). It symbolizes eternal things, generational things, and things that propagate in conjunction with the concepts of loyalty and faithfulness.
"Aleph" is represented by an ox showing us something strong and leading.
"Pey" is represented by a mouth. In its negative context, it can associate with things like scorn, contempt, and disrespect. The depiction is that of a mouth puffing or blowing with the idea of scattering. In fact, "pey" is the first letter of the word for "scattering" and comes with the idea of breaking into pieces.
If we combine the images into one concept, adultery is the strong scornful, contemptuous, disrespectful scattering, shattering, and fragmenting of faithful love that leads us astray and prevents the production of the image God desired to propagate his fruitful and productive loyal love.
The reproduction of His loyal and faithful love in the children (fruit produced) is the purpose of God's heart in HIs rules for relationships.
An Example From Moses
Moses gave us a visual demonstration of this when he broke the tablets (Ketubah—marital contract) in pieces after coming down from Mount Sinai with the covenant terms, only to find the children of Israel whoring with a cow. I believe it was symbolic of the broken, shattered heart of God Himself.
God is trying to show us who He is in what He commands us. He calls us to be faithful because He is faithful.
“Be holy, for I am holy.”
— I Peter 1:16
He is calling us to unite with Him. He wants us to be His family, unified with Him and reproducing and multiplying after His kind. Jesus prayed concerning those who would follow Him.
. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . .
— John 17:22
The final three Words similarly relate in theme and principle of reflecting God's image by understanding His character, provision, and commands to prosper and multiply what God has given us.
Eighth of the "Ten Words"
"You shall not steal"
— Exodus 20:15
Stealing comes in many forms. It most obviously includes possessions but can also include such things as privacy, innocence, opportunities, and reputation.
The religious leaders illustrate this concept that Jesus describes in John chapter 10.
The thief (false teachers and religious leaders) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
— John 10:10
Jesus' accusation to them was that they were stealing true "religion" and glorification by "climbing up (stealing—obtaining righteousness) another (their own) way" rather than humbly submitting to His Lordship. They wanted the praises of the people and the glory due only to His name.
My glory I will not give to another.
— Isaiah 42:8
Is it possible to steal God's principles for selfish motives as the religious rulers of the time did? Yes, but we will never truly enter the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd in doing so.
. . . he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
— John 10:1
True religion gives it does not steal.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit (help or benefit) orphans and widows in their trouble,and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
— James 1:27
The Eighth "And God Said"
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion (take possession) over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
— Genesis 1:26
Since we are created in the image of God, we need to understand that our God does not steal; instead, He is a generous and giving God that holds nothing back, and we are to be like Him.
. . . be imitators of God as dear children.
— Ephesians 5:1
He has generously provided for all that we need and commands us to take possession of all that He has given us, making it unnecessary to steal.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.
— Psalm 65:4
He isEl-Shaddai, the God who is more than enough.
The Ninth of the "Ten Words"
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"
— Exodus 20:16
A bit of "word" study on the keywords in this "Word" will clarify this one.
It is tempting to view this one only in terms of a courtroom setting, which this idea could very well include, but I think it is so much more far-reaching than testifying in a court of law from which many of us could exempt ourselves.
The Hebrew word "bear" in this verse means to judge, accuse, and pronounce a sentence against. Essentially it is judging people and verbally pronouncing a sentence against them. Gossip comes to mind in this respect.
Again we see this principle illustrated by the religious rulers of the time of Christ who sought any occasion they could to accuse Jesus. Eventually, it was false accusations that led to His crucifixion. Although this was part of the plan for our salvation, it is still an image of the level of destruction that can be caused by it.
The word "false" includes obvious definitions, including ideas of lies and slander.
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure.
— Psalm 101:5
This verse reveals that pride and self-exaltation are rooted in this sin. It is a means to tear one down to build oneself up.
False can also include ideas of idle, useless, and vain words spoken against someone, which also reminds me of gossip.
. . . every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
— Matthew 12:36
The word "witness" means to testify against
“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
— II Corinthians 13:1
When we speak negatively and in judgment against others, we join forces with the enemy and testify against those we are talking about and possibly help establish adverse outcomes for others. We want to be imitators of God, our father, and not be examples of being children of the devil.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
— John 8:44
We show whose we are by who we imitate.
. . . speak evil of no one, be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
— Titus 3:2
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother.
— James 4:11
The Ninth "And God Said"
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
— Genesis 1:28
This ninth saying repeats the concept of having dominion over what God has given and created. We are not permitted to dominate and prosper by oppression, through word or deed. We are not to prosper and succeed at the expense of our neighbor.
. . . you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.
— Leviticus 25:17
The Tenth of the "Ten Words"
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
— Exodus 20:17
The word "covet" in this verse is the same word used to describe the trees in the garden as "pleasing" to the eye. It also the same word Eve used in her consideration of whether or not she should eat of the forbidden fruit. She concluded that since it was "pleasing to her eye," she should have it. Potential pleasure is the prevailing principle of covetousness. It leads to murder, adultery, stealing, and lying. I see I want, I take.
King David shows us how this works when he sees (covets) Bathsheba bathing on the roof. In II Samuel 11:2. He took (stole) her. Then he commits adultery with her (vs.4). When his sin was about to find him out through the pregnancy of Bathsheba (vs. 5), David resorted to deceiving (a form of lying) Uriah, her husband, as well as those around him to cover it up. (vs.6-12) When this all failed, he resorted to murdering her husband (vs.15).
Coveting may seem like the smallest of all the transgressions of the ten, but as we see in this account of David's life, it is not such a minor sin. He essentially trespasses against every Word God has spoken by the seemingly insignificant act of coveting.
And then there was Eve, whose supposedly minor act of coveting forbidden fruit led to high treason and adultery against God, which resulted in death and separation of humanity. It was envy as well that led Christ to the cross.
. . . the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy . . .
— Mark 15:10
Again we understand that it was part of the plan for Christ to die as He did but showcases the far-reaching consequences of this seemingly small thing.
The Tenth "And God Said"
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.Then God saw everything that He had made.
— Genesis 1:29-31
God sums this all up in the tenth thing that He said, "See, I have given you." There is no need to murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or envy your neighbor because God has provided all we need.
The following is what God tells David in response to his adultery with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, and ultimately God Himself.
Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed (empowered and assigned) you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?
— II Samuel 12:7
We can see that when God gives dominion, He also gives responsibility to use it righteously for the benefit of others and His glory, trusting that He will provide all we could ever need.
. . . my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:19
In Conclusion, each" Word" is progressive, in that our relationship with God comes first.
. . . without Me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5
In that relationship, we are enabled to love others. Jesus summed them up in two commandments.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 22:35-40
We see evidenced here how interrelated and integrated all the things God "says" and "speaks" are, as well as how vitally necessary they are for life and our relationship with Him and one another.
They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love ~ Jars of Clay
© 2013 Tamarajo