After a week excursion into Ephesians with Pastor Rick Ebbers we return with a two week wrap-up of our series on the 10 Commandments, God’s Laws of Life, with a dive into the 9th (Do not lie) and 10th (Do not covet) commandments.
In preparing for these messages I was struck by the connection between stealing (8th), lying (9th) and coveting (10th) commands. These three are closely linked with one another with the 10th commandment functioning like a summary of the 2nd table of the law.
Our commandment for Sunday has to do with the call of God on our lives to a life of honesty and truthfulness. I read a fascinating article this week of excerpts from an interview with a Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, Patrick Deneen, by Comment entitled Liberty, Equality… Disintegration?.
The article sparked a synapse of thought and belief that I have been trying to convey throughout this series. It brought together for me something I have been grappling with since the beginning of this series. At one point in the article he states, If liberty is understood as the reduction of all obstacles to that which we want, then one of the greatest obstacles to that which we want becomes the limitations of the natural and created order.
From the start of this series I have emphasized the truth that God’s law is simply God’s truth of boundaries written down for our understanding and flourishing that are embodied in the created order. They are true for all people for all time. This truth is based on the belief that there is a supreme loving Creator Redeemer God who is our ultimate authority in life. This truth is based on the belief that God has built into the fabric of the world and into the essence of human beings norms for our living and flourishing.
When God gave to Moses and the Israelites (and thus given to us today) the 10 commandments, he knew what life outside of his authority and our devoted love to him would look lead to (1st table of the law – Love God above all, Love God only). And it follows that he knew what life outside of love for our neighbor would look like (2nd table of the law – Love our neighbor). In reading the Biblical story from beginning to end, we see over and over the fruit/blessing of living within God’s gracious boundaries of love. We also see over and over the chaos/pain of living in ‘autonomy’ from God’s gracious boundaries of love.
If you think deeply enough about this, this one statement by Professor Deneen explains why our world experiences such depth of brokenness, why our political systems and ideologies let us down and throughout the history of humanity so often fail, why on a personal level we experience angst in knowing that ‘things are not the way they are supposed to be.’
Once we remove God from our lives, from societal conversation, from morality and sexuality – whatever context of life, we turn our back to the Creator Redeemer God and the design of the created order designed for our flourishing. And this leads to chaos – not flourishing. Looks to me like it all starts with the 1st command and leads us to the 10th command. The Wisdom of God.