The Law of the Lord: written on our hearts

Stop what you’re doing right now and take this little test: name all Ten Commandments.

Hopefully you did better than 42% of American adults, who could only name five correctly. That Gallup statistic is especially ironic when the same poll showed that 85% of Americans consider the Ten Commandments still applicable today—stranger still considering the hoopla over the right of former Chief Justice Roy Moore to display the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court. It seems that Americans like the general idea of the Ten Commandments, but don’t want to take it much further.

But let’s be honest—are we really much better? I don’t know about you, but I don’t get any warm fuzzies when I think about the Ten Commandments. Compare that to the Psalmist’s view of the law: “The law of the Lord…is more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19); “Happy are those…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they mediate day and night” (Psalm 1); “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119). Which one of us can claim that kind of enthusiasm? Perhaps the key to the Psalmists’ love of the law is that they knew it described the blessed life. Not a life of material blessing, but a life of wise choices that draw one closer to a loving God—life drawn ever further into the character of God.

This Lent we’ll hear the Ten Commandments each week during worship. My prayer is that it won’t become the dry recitation of a moral to-do list, but a life-giving instruction that helps us grow “like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season.” Maybe this is the season for you and your family to memorize the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) and meditate on their life-giving words. May the Lord write his law on our hearts!

I am the Lord your God,

1. you shall have no other Gods before me

2. you shall not make an idol to worship

3. you shall not speak God’s name lightly

4. you shall keep the Sabbath holy

5. you shall honor your father and mother

6. you shall not murder

7. you shall not commit adultery

8. you shall not steal

9. you shall not lie

10. you shall not covet what others have

Can’t tell the Decalogue from the Doxology? Contact Greg: