The Readings: Exodus 20:1-21; Colossians 1:24—2:7; Matthew 4:1-11
Five Takes on the Ten
Moses thinks the special effects are to instill fear to prevent Israel sinning (v.20). Perhaps he is right; God is not above using fear. But training wheels are designed to be temporary.
Commands. Better, perhaps, than a fickle deity with constantly changing priorities, or a coy deity demanding that we guess.
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Perhaps the most important part of the text: this is who God is, this is what this God has already done.
January 6, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt gave the “Four Freedoms” speech. We could as easily call today’s text the “Ten Freedoms” speech. Examples: #1: free not to worry about keeping Anubis, Anum, Atum, Bastet, Geb, Horus, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Ra, Seth, Shu, and Tefnut happy. #4: free to rest every seventh day. #6ff: free not to have to murder, commit adultery, steal, etc. to maintain one’s standing or satisfaction.
Matthew lets us watch the spirit of the Exodus text in action. Because the LORD is Jesus’ God, Jesus is free to send the tempter packing, free not to diminish his own humanity, free to devote his attention to restoring ours.
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord,
to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom:
Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies;
that we, surely trusting in your defense,
may not fear the power of any adversaries;
through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. (BCP 99)