Freedom in Truth
Exodus 20: 13-20
13 You shall not murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
15 You shall not steal.
16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.
18 When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, 19 and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.’ 20 Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.’
Today’s reading, follows yesterday’s with more rules. Quite specific rules. Rules which set out how we interact with the community around us.
Much of our society today operates a value system which does not accept or admit the possibility of absolute truth. If there is no God, then there can be no objective standard of right and wrong, good and evil. Society evolves its own code of ethics and morality to help it self-regulate. But by that standard, there is moral equivalence between the western democracies and the theocracy of Daesh. Surely, that can’t be right?
We know, in our hearts, even without being told, what is right and what is wrong. The Ten Commandments are God's record to us of the objective truth he has hardwired into human beings. These rules are, in fact, freedoms. By following them we are freed from our selfish desires in order to live in a productive and healthy community.
The whole of the Bible story, though, shows us how, as a species, we seem determined to choose the wrong things. We are, individually and corporately, out of step with God's design for us. The Good News of the Bible, however, is that we need not fear our failing. God's rescue plan is Jesus and God's grace means we can be forgiven.
God's Spirit lives and works within us nudging us and reshaping us towards God himself. Our universe does have an absolute standard of truth and the Christian life is about accepting that, and allowing God to work in our lives towards those values. God has given us clear guidance on how our communities should live alongside each other. Let us live those lives.
Gracious and Glorious God, You have given us the freedom to make decisions for ourselves. You have also shown us what is good and right, yet we so often choose what is bad and wrong. We thank You that, through our trust in, and love for, Jesus You forgive us when we err.
We pray that You would fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we can turn from our destructive tendencies and build Your kingdom in our villages, towns and cities. Amen.