In our culture, most of us are familiar with the 10 Commandments. We may not have them all memorized, but we’ve heard of them and can probably recite 2 or 3 of them correctly, while fabricating a few more. Like most people, I’ve usually seen the 10 Commandments as a bunch of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots”. It’s been more or less a list of “do’s and don’ts” for me. Recently I’ve begun to understand the ’10 Commandments’ more as the ’10 Blessings’.
For example, in the 4th commandment, ‘Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy’, God is saying to us, “take a day off to rest and do nothing at all, and I will provide fully for you.” You mean God wants me to have a vacation day every week so that he can clearly show off how good and powerful he is? That sounds pretty awesome, not like a rule I have to begrudgingly follow.
Realizing the ‘hidden’ blessing in this commandment, I began processing through the other 9 commandments. Soon I realized that every single ‘commandment’ is really an opportunity for God to bless us. Each one of them is for our good and our best interest.
Three reasons we know they are blessings:
God created and sustains the universe.
That God created everything and still maintains it all by his power means that he knows infinitely better than us the design and purpose for his creation.
God loves us.
We have a God that loves us deeply and only desires good for us.
God is giving himself to us.
The 10 commandments are manifestations of the character of God.
In the commandments, God isn’t giving us specific guidelines; he’s revealing himself to us in specific areas that are relevant to all mankind today just as much as they were relevant to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. And each commandment is a blessing God wants us to experience in specific areas. He doesn’t prohibit adultery to keep sex from us. He prohibits adultery so that we can enjoy sex in its fullest, most blessed, beautiful, God-ordained way. And who better to tell us the appropriate purpose of sex than the creator of it?
We have a God with far greater knowledge of his creation and this world. He is not only in control of his creation, but is using it all for our best good out of his love for us. What he gives us his himself – the very thing we need most. We were created to know, love, and worship God. And the 10 commandments is God revealing aspects of himself to us.
I don’t think the 10 commandments give us a good enough representation of God – even when we see them as ’10 blessings’. Man needed more than what was brought down from Mt. Sinai by another man. We needed God himself, in completeness, to come down to us. We needed God to fully give himself to us in Jesus Christ.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:15-20