Recently I found myself wondering why the Ten Commandments are so negatively focussed. By that I mean that most of the ten instructions are things that God says the people must not do. The strange thing is that when Jesus gives His reworked and shortened version of the whole law, in Matthew’s gospel, He told them the things they must do, in other words they were positively focussed instructions. After some pondering, one possible reason for this occurred to me.
The Ten Commandments were written by God to His chosen people, who were, by His choice, under the cover of His Covenant love. They were, if you like “in” His embrace and He didn’t want them to do anything that would take them “out” of His care. So, He told them the things that they should not do if they wanted to choose to stay “in” the safe place and hence the rather negative tone of the instructions.
However Jesus is talking to many people who were yet to discover the place of God’s care and covenant love. In other words they are “out” and needed to get “in”. Maybe this explains why the focus is on positive choice rather than the earlier instructions to resist negative choices.
Maybe there are a lot of other explanations but what I do know is that I, for one, want to get “in” and stay “in” the place of God’s covenant blessings. I guess that means both sets of instructions are equally important. What do you think?
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the door through which we can enter into the blessings of our Heavenly Father’s covenant love and protection. We pray we will not only choose once but daily to enter “in” and also to guard our actions so we don’t step “out” again, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.