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  • Chad Werkhoven

Exodus 20:1-21 - The Terrifying Word of God

God's Word can be described many ways, but 'boring' isn't one of them.

Read / Listen

Read Exodus 20:1-21

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 92 simply reproduces the Biblical text of the ten commandments



We're going to focus on the beginning and ending of our passage today, since we'll be learning lots about the commandments in the middle in the weeks to come.

Notice how the passage begins:

And God spoke

We could turn multiple places in the Bible for a demonstration of God's awesome power at work in nature. Indeed, the Israelites had just witnessed it firsthand for themselves, having walked between two towering walls of ocean as the crossed the Red Sea on dry ground.

But as amazing as God's command of nature is, the best demonstration of His power can be found when He speaks. Remember the opening words of the Bible, which record God creating all that is out of nothing by simply repeating the phrase "and God said..." Jesus Himself is called the Word, and His ministry begins with God's voice booming from heaven that Jesus is His son, whom He loves. The book of Romans begins with an announcement that the gospel - the proclamation of the good news of salvation - is "the power of God..."

Imagine being there, hearing these words come out of the fire (Dt. 10:4), accompanied by thunder and lightning (v18). It would quickly become clear that the ten commandments are so much more than a historic document to hang in a courtroom or to doze off to as you hear them recited for the umpteenth time in church.

These words, just like the gospel, are the power of God, and necessary for you to know well and follow as you live in Christ.

Dig Deeper

The Israelites didn't miss God's demonstration of verbal power: They "trembled with fear" and "stayed at a distance," convinced that if God were to utter another word to them they would instantly die. They knew they were not worthy to come face to face with God, so they sent a representative up them mountain in their place.

As we begin our nearly three month study of these commandments, we're beginning with a much different attitude than these Israelites had. We're coming to them as people who have peace with God because we've been justified through faith in Jesus Christ. We come to them in gratitude because in Christ, we've fully met the conditions of God's law.

As Moses reminds us, these commandments are given "so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning (v20)."

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Lord our God, who brought you out of slavery to sin;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for giving us the tools and instructions to live as the holy people He's declared us to be in Christ.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Corinthians 15


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