Yul Brenner's Favorite Passage
Moses brings the people together and in his humble way reminds them of that time that he was the mediator between them and God. Back when I was God's mouthpiece, He told me that these were the laws you all were to follow- and these aren't laws handed down through generations that might have gotten distorted through time- these are laws He told me to tell you. There are ten of them, but you may have seen that coming.
Before enumerating the rules, God reminds them (through Moses, of course) that He is the God that brought them out of slavery.
Number 1: No other Gods before Me. Interesting that He doesn't say no other gods- just I come first.
Number 2: Don't make images of anything in heaven or on earth. No photo albums, no tv, no IPads, no paintings, no sculptures (oops). But if you do make them (?) don't worship them. I'm jealous- this won't make me happy. It's interesting that He says not to make them, but then gives rules for when we make them anyway.
Number 3: Don't misuse My name. This seems like a real cut and dry rule...but what is His name? Don't misuse Jehovah? Or Yawheh? Or God? Or Lord? Or god is ok as long as you use a lowercase g. Or just tweak God to goodness and then we're golden? Or is it some other name not in our vernacular to start with?
Number 4: Take a day off. Work six- but the seventh is my sabbath- for you to rest. Not just you, your son rests, your daughtesr. your wife, your servant, your donkey, and foreigners in your town. You will be couch potatoes.
Number 5: Honor mom and dad- even when they're dumb, even when they're wrong, even when you know better. Do this and you'll live a long life. That retirement home is right out.
Number 6: No murder.
Number 7: No sleeping around.
Number 8: No stealing.
Number 9: Don't tell lies about your neighbor. Even if their kids ride an ATV around your house. Even if they're incredibly loud.
Number 10: Don't dream about getting the neighbor's wife, or house, or land, or servant, or donkey. Just be glad for what you have.
God wrote this stuff on tablets and gave them to me. You were scared because you thought if you heard God's voice you would die. So you were willing to send me off to die. Lucky I'm braver than you. God's glad you're afraid of Him. He hopes this fear will keep you from messing up. So please, don't be dumb, keep the law.
In some ways having a law in black and white is comforting- I know what to do and what not to do- but it also serves to forever mark my inadequacies- and creates a system I can never keep. Neither could they.