Welcome to our seventh week in the Ten Commandments! We’re so glad you’re along on this journey with us as we study God’s Law. This week we’re looking at the command forbidding murder and noting how an expansive obedience means we not only refrain from killing but we seek to bring life to others.
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And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”
“You shall not murder.”Exodus 20:13
For most of us reading this post, we’re not physically living on death row, convicted of taking the life of another image bearer of God. But as we’ve discovered in our study of the other commandments, we are all guilty of breaking every law, including this one. Not one of us is perfect, and even if we aren’t physically murderers, we have failed at some point to preserve life either spiritually or emotionally. Sometimes it’s easier to see this when we think about how we’ve been hurt by others.
What are some ways you have been wounded spiritually or emotionally?
In contrast, how have others honored your life?
For missionary Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) honoring life was displayed through forgiveness and self-denial as she chose to see the savages who had killed her husband as image bearers of God in need of His salvation. She moved into their tribe with her young daughter to share the gospel with the men, women, and children known as notorious killers. Through her rejection of bitterness, revenge, and contempt, these murderers saw the love of Jesus through her and came to accept their new identities as peace-loving children of God. Instead of choosing a sinful response to her emotions, Elliot chose to live as Jesus did, walking alongside murders in genuine forgiveness.
She would later write, “Do not try to fortify yourself against emotions. Recognize them, name them, and lay them open before the Lord for His training of your responses.”
What emotions do you need to lay before the Lord today?
What is one thing you can do today to bring life to another person through your thoughts, words, and/or actions?
As we give our emotions to the Lord and meditate upon His Word, He fills our minds with forgiveness and kindness, which bring life to others as we value them as God’s image bearers.
Heavenly Father, You have told us clearly to not take the lives of others, and for so long, we’ve thought we were obediently — and rather easily — obeying this command to not murder. But this study and the idea of expansive obedience has opened our eyes. We confess we have broken this law so many times in our thoughts of revenge, in hearts of unforgiveness, in our words, in our lack of care for the emotions of others, and in so many other ways as we push others aside. Forgive us, Lord, and make us more like You. Help us to see others as your image bearers, as precious ones to care for physically, emotionally, and spiritually. May we be like Jesus who loved and forgave the very people who would take His life. Take our emotions, the ones You gave us, and give us Your responses. We love You, Lord.