Our Old Testament reading is Exodus 20:1-17.

And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

God gave us this guidance that we might live well with each other and with Him. This passage is very familiar to us, yet when asked most people can only recall a few of the Ten Commandments. Why do we find it so difficult to remember and follow these rules intended for our good?

While this wisdom was a gift to God’s children as they were led to the Promised Land, it applies equally to us today. These aren’t just good ideas or suggestions, they are called commandments for a reason – God specifically tells us to do and not to do these things for our own good. Just as we teach and protect our children through boundaries and rules for behavior, God guides and protects us through the laws He made and our relationship with Him.

We need to remember God’s law and apply it in our lives. Obeying is part of our connection and it is through obedience that we learn and grow. Ask for His guidance every day and we too will be led as He always has.

Loving Lord, our own way leads to death but Your love guides us to life eternal. Help us to follow the way You intend for us, loving You and each other under Your law. Amen.

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