Keeping Lent

Each week in Lent we are publishing a Bible Study on our website for you to use. These have been written for all of us by our Lay Minister, Gerda Buckley:

 

            LENT BIBLE STUDIES – THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

                            Week 1  =  Introduction

 

Welcome to the first of our six studies of the Ten Commandments.  Today is a general introduction and in the following weeks we shall look at two of the Commandments each week. There will be Bible references suggested along the way, which you might like to look up, and probably looking at some of them, at least, will be helpful.

The Ten Commandments had little significance in the Christian tradition until the Thirteenth Century, when they were incorporated into a Manual of Instruction for those coming to confess their sins.  With the rise of Protestant Christianity, they were used for teaching – especially with young people.

BACKGROUND  -  The Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites ( Jews ) round about the 13th Century BC.  Moses had led his people as they escaped from slavery in Egypt. They were travelling to a new land which God would provide for them in Israel.

At first, they were full of hope.  Life was going to be marvellous for them.  They were free at last!

 

To think about - This past year has been a kind of slavery for us.  We have had a series of “lockdowns”. We have faced restrictions in the way we have had to live. We have been separated from family and friends.  It has affected each of us in different ways.  Now, with the availability of vaccines, we are looking forward to our “freedom” We are filled with hope.

What are you hoping for now  -  for you?

                                                       For society as a whole?

 

Sadly for the Israelites life of freedom wasn't quite as they had expected.  God was leading them to the Promised Land, but the journey was a long one across the desert.  They found life very hard and living with a number of other people in those conditions often brings out the worst in people!! 

There was a lot of complaining and Moses took the blame for their discontent. ( Exodus 15 v, 22- 26; 16 v. 1-3 ;17 v.1 -3 )

Moses found that trying to control this sometimes unruly mob was getting him down.  He had taken on too much.  His father-in-law, Jethro persuaded him to share the load and he appointed judges to help solve disputes as they arose.  ( Exodus 18 v, 17 – 25 ) 

When the Israelites came to Mount Sinai, God provided further help..  Through Moses, He gave them Ten Commandments – rules by which they were to live.

 

Read – Exodus 20 v. 1 – 17

 

To think about – Human beings need guidelines – rules by which to live in order that everyone can be safe and happy.

Do you remember when you first heard or read the 10 Commandments?

          What did you think of them?

          What do think of them now?

 

 When we read them, we are reading translations, and translations of translations!!

Even in the Old Testament we find two different versions – the one you have just read in Exodus and also in Deuteronomy 5 v. 22 – 33

You may be thinking that perhaps God's message has been lost by the time it gets to us!  As Christians do they have any relevance for us?  After all, we have the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. However – In Paul's letter to Timothy, he wrote “All scripture is inspired by God" (2 Tim. 3 v.16 – 17 )  God speaks to us through the meaning of the

scriptures. Regardless of the words of the translations we are using.  God's message is always there for us. It is the message which is relevant and always will be.

 

Jesus was brought up under Jewish Law.  Despite His apparently revolutionary teaching, He never broke the law. (Matthew 5 v. 17 – 19) His life and teaching fulfilled the law and revealed its true meaning and relevance.  He frequently emphasised this as He quoted the Old Testament in His teaching.  (Matt. 5 v. 18-19, 21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43, etc.)

Jesus gave us a New Commandment, (John 13 v. 34 ) but we shall see as we go along that all the Old Testament Commandments are represented in that one!

 

Final Prayer:    O God, the King of righteousness, we bring to you in prayer tose who bear responsibility for maintaining law an order in our land, especially judges, magistrates and the police; that the innocent may be protected, evil-doers be brought to account the rights of all be defended and that we, as a nation may enjoy the blessings of a just, free and peaceful society through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen             

                                    ( Frank Colquhoun )           

                  




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