Introduction: In some Christian circles the Ten Commandments have
gotten a bad reputation. Even the apostle Paul seemed to say some
pretty harsh things about them. What do you think, are the Ten
Commandments something good or bad? Are you glad they exist? Are they
a “contract” to which you would like to be a party? Not sure? Let’s
jump into our study to find out more about the Ten Commandments!

  1. God’s Attitude Toward Us

    1. Does life seem fair to you? Without getting into the
      details, this week I was getting very upset at an
      insurance company because it seemed it was taking unfair
      advantage of its customers. The particular customer I was
      most worried about was me!

    2. Read Psalms 103:6-7. Who does this text say God helps? (It
      tells us that God makes things right for those who are
      unfairly treated and cannot do anything about it.)

      1. Why is this important? (When you cannot do anything
        about injustice, you feel God is the ultimate power
        to whom you can appeal – if He is willing. Turns out,
        He is willing.)

    3. In verse 7 God’s justice is linked to Moses and Israel –
      the subject of our study today. How do they fit into this
      topic of righteousness and justice for the oppressed?
      (Israel was in slavery – oppressed by the Egyptians.)

    4. Read Psalms 103:11-12. How high are the heavens above the
      earth? If you could use one word to describe God’s love
      based on this text, what would it be? (Limitless!)

      1. Why does this text mention our sins (transgressions)?
        What do our sins have to do with God’s love? (The
        most important point of God’s love is the removal of
        our sins. Jesus came to bear our sins and allow us to
        accept the gift of eternal life.)

    5. Read Psalms 103:13-14. Are you concerned about whether God
      is doing what is in your best interest? What does this
      suggest? (God loves us as our own parents love us.)

      1. Does God have compassion for everyone? (The text
        contains a qualifier we need to soberly consider. It
        says God shows compassion on those “who fear Him.”)

      2. Why does God show compassion on those who fear Him?
        (He knows we are only human.)

    6. Let’s look at the points we just covered. God will make
      things right for the oppressed. He revealed Himself to
      Moses and Israel. God loves us like a father and His love
      for us is limitless. God’s great gift of love to us was
      sending His Son to free us from sin.

  2. God’s Love at Sinai

    1. Read Exodus 19:1-3. What is the setting? (God has just
      pulled His people out of slavery in Egypt. They are 60+
      days into their journey to Canaan and God has called Moses
      to a special meeting to discuss what Moses will say to
      God’s people.)

    2. Read Exodus 19:4-7. What is God’s message to His people?

      1. Why do you think God presented this message in this

      2. Are these essentially the main points that we found
        in Psalms 103? (Yes, except for the explicit point
        about removing sin.)

    3. Scan Exodus 20:1-17 (the Ten Commandments). Do the Ten
      Commandments relate to the points that we discussed from
      Psalms 103?

      1. Which of the Ten Commandments relate to justice for
        the oppressed?

      2. Which of the Ten Commandments relate to God’s love
        for us?

      3. Which of the Ten Commandments relate to the
        forgiveness of sin? (This one may be a trick

      4. When God gave His people the Ten Commandments, was
        the purpose to create justice for the oppressed, show
        His love for us and give us a way out of sin?
        (Creating a “rule of law” always helps to protect the
        oppressed. God shows His love for us because the last
        six of the Commandments are for our protection. By
        helping us to see what is sin, God began to show us
        how to escape from sin.)

    4. You know the old adage about helping the poor: it is
      better to teach a man how to fish than to give him a fish.
      The older I get, the more I am convinced that we “teach a
      man how to fish” by protecting property rights and giving
      people freedom to grow their own food and earn their own
      money. Do the Ten Commandments address this problem? (Yes.
      If followed, the Ten Commandments would eliminate “class
      warfare.” They prohibit the rich from cheating the poor by
      lying and stealing. On the other hand, they tell the poor
      not to covet what the rich own.)

      1. Why do so many of the Ten Commandments deal with
        man’s relationship to man? (This demonstrates God’s
        love for us. God wants us to treat each other

  3. God’s Messengers

    1. Let’s go back and read Exodus 19:5-6 again. If the Ten
      Commandments are such a great thing, something that
      reveals all of these good things about God, why would God
      want to give this gift to so few?

      1. When God calls Israel a “kingdom of priests” what
        does this suggest about their relationship to the
        rest of the world?

      2. Why does God mention that the “whole earth is mine?”
        (The picture we get is that God, who God over the
        entire earth, wanted to have a special relationship
        with a group who would be His “priests” to share the
        benefits of the Ten Commandments with the rest of the

  4. The Importance of God’s Sinai Message

    1. Read Romans 3:19. Would role, if any, do the Ten
      Commandments play in making us righteous? (The Ten
      Commandments do not make anyone righteous. However, they
      play a very important role in making us conscious of sin.)

      1. Is that the only role of the Ten Commandments? (No.
        They teach us basic principles of God’s kingdom. They
        teach us to respect each other and our property. They
        teach us to respect and honor God.)

    2. Put yourself in God’s place for just a moment. Adam and
      Eve have sinned. You have the option of either sending
      your Son to earth to show that Adam and Eve could have
      obeyed the Ten Commandments (and, in the process, your son
      will die a horrible death) or you can just discard the
      idea of the Ten Commandments. Which would you choose?
      (Despite the bad reputation of the Ten Commandments among
      some Christians, this shows the extraordinary importance
      that God the Father and God the Son placed on them. God
      wanted to show that the Commandments could be obeyed. Adam
      and Eve did not have to sin.)

    3. Considering the importance of the Ten Commandments, how
      should we approach them? Are we required to obey them? Are
      we required to obey them to be saved?

      1. Read Romans 9:31-33. Did God’s people want to follow
        the law? (These texts say they did.)

        1. What was the problem?

        2. What or who is this “stone?” (The Israelites
          determined to keep the Ten Commandments by
          gritting their teeth and obeying, rather than
          pursuing them by faith. “Pursuing them by
          faith” is a pretty ambiguous statement. The
          “stone” is Jesus. The message that I find in
          this text is that faith and trust in Jesus
          allows us to “pursue” the law of righteousness.)

      2. Read Romans 3:28-31. How do we “uphold” the Ten
        Commandments when we tell others that they are
        justified “apart from observing the law?” (This is
        both the beauty and the complexity of this teaching.
        We cannot be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments.
        We are only saved by faith in Jesus, who kept them on
        our behalf. However, anyone who has at least two
        brain cells to rub together realizes the
        extraordinary importance that God places on the Ten
        Commandments, His Sinai Covenant. God the Father and
        God the Son went through a terrible sacrifice to
        uphold them. Therefore, we take obedience to the Ten
        Commandments very seriously – even though we realize
        that keeping them is not the ticket to heaven.)

    4. Friend, what do you say about the Sinai Covenant, the Ten
      Commandments? Considering their importance to life and
      our God, are you willing to take them seriously?

  5. Next Week: Covenant Law