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Exodus 32:21-35 If a ploughman’s ox refuses to turn the way he wants, he calls the obstinate beast “stiffnecked.” Nine times in the Bible, that’s what the LORD calls His people.  The first occasion is in Exodus 32: “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that […]

Golden calf

Exodus 32:1-20 How long does it take a nation to fall away from its spiritual heritage? Well in Exodus 32 it’s been 50 days since the Israelites had arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai.  They had been redeemed from slavery, brought through the Red Sea and carried by the Angel of God on eagle’s wings. […]

Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth

Exodus 21:20-27; Matthew 5:38-48 “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind” said Gandhi. Not quite.  “Two eyes for an eye” might do it.  Or even “an eye for an eye for an eye”.  But “an eye for an eye” was an upper limit of retribution set down in law, explicitly forbidding […]

Thou shalt not covet

Exodus 20:12; Matthew 5:21-37 What do we make of a regime that has “thought crime” on the statute books? Well then, what do we think of God the Father?  Because on Mount Sinai here is His concluding word of the ten: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, […]

Honour thy father and thy mother

Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 3:14-21 It’s interesting to read modern alternatives to the Ten Commandments. When people today are asked about their own vision of the Good Life, their silence on the subject of God is deafening.  Few people today see God as having anything to do with the “Good Life.”   Maybe that’s not surprising. What […]

Remember the Sabbath Day

Exodus 20:8-11; Luke 14:1-6 Where is the world heading?  Climate catastrophes?  Asteroid impact?  Nuclear armageddon?  Global pandemic?  Cosmic ‘big crunch’?  Heat death? Not according to the Bible.  In the beginning, God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh.  And ever since, the week has proclaimed to us God’s purposes with the […]

Taking the Lord’s name in vain

Exodus 20:7; Romans 2:17-24 Protestors will often march carrying placards: “Not in my name.”  They are incensed that their government would act in ways completely at odds with their own outlook. At Mount Sinai, the Father is similarly concerned. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD […]

I am a jealous God

Exodus 20:4-6; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3 It’s right there in the midst of the ten words from Mount Sinai: “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God”  (Exodus 20:5) What a horrible idea, we might think, a jealous God!?  What kind of a God gets jealous? Well Mount Sinai is no unguarded moment of candour.  The […]

Graven images

Exodus 20:1-3; Jeremiah 2:9-13 Where do we look for strength, for comfort, for help, for love, acceptance and joy?  Where do we look for life? According to the Bible, the answer is: “all the wrong places!” We are inveterate idolaters.  We are always setting our hearts on idols: on things that are not God.  The human […]

Thou shalt

Exodus 20:1-3, 18-22 No-one likes the phrase “laying down the law.”  But that’s what the unseen LORD does on mount Sinai. As we saw yesterday, God the Son has brought the people to God the Father.  And now they learn some house rules. The order is important.  They’re not told in Egypt “If you obey my commands I […]