January 29 | Daily Devotion

If you plan to read every verse of Scripture this year, use the Lectio Continua (continuous reading) passages. The Lectio Semi-continua (shorter reading) is an abbreviated selection of verses from the day’s passages. Lectio Divina (divine reading) is Pastor Lionel Young’s commentary on the daily readings. See the Resources page on the Lectio Divina website for additional study helps.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina (meditation on the text)

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” ~Exodus 19:5-6a

The Ten Commandments provide a foundational summary of how a God-worshipping community is to live. The Commandments are basic principles rather than an exhaustive list of rules, although, later in Exodus, God provides examples of how these principles apply in one’s personal life and in the life of a community.

The Ten Commandments are divided into two categories, those that define our relationship with God (commandments 1-4) and those that guide our relationships with each other (commandments 5-10). We’ll see this dual focus throughout Scripture, even in the words of Jesus. He said the entire Bible is summarized by the commands to love God and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:34-40).

Here is a modern, interpretive rendering of the Ten Commandments that will help you understand the true intent of the law. Mediate on them today and ask God to help you love Him and others.

  1. Make God the first priority of your life. The commandment to “have no other gods before me” is a call to make sure no thing (job, money, popularity, pleasure, et al) and no person (family, friends) is more important to us than God (Ex. 20:3).
  2. Worship God and nothing else. The second commandment follows from the first and addresses the temptation to turn inanimate objects (statues, for example) into objects of worship. Generally speaking, the use of art to aid God’s people in worship is appropriate as long as the art is not turned into a talisman.
  3. Always speak about God with reverence and respect. Don’t say anything, either in curse or jest, that detracts from the greatness and glory of God. This commandment covers more than simply saying a bad word!
  4. Set aside time for worship and rest. God created everything and gave us everything. We should all find the time to stop once a week to enjoy our blessings and the One who offers them. If you don’t make time, you probably won’t do it.
  5. Honor your parents. You may not always agree with them, and you may even find them annoying, but you must honor them. The commandment would have been unnecessary if parents were perfect or if respect was always easy to give. However, God blesses those who obey (Ex. 16:12).
  6. Respect human life. People are created in God’s image and endowed with human dignity regardless of who they are. Do not hate, and do not cause harm.
  7. Protect marriage covenants. When people commit adultery, they do damage to marriages and break up families (their own and others). Keep things hot at home and keep sex where it belongs, in the marriage bed.
  8. Don’t take what belongs to others. Protect personal property and rights by not stealing what belongs to other people. Whether clothing, cars, intellectual property (books, music, etc.), expense accounts, equipment, or paychecks, do not take anything you have not paid for or earned. To do so shows a lack of love.
  9. Don’t hurt people’s reputations. When people give false testimony, whether in court or over a cup of coffee, they are doing damage to others! This demonstrates a lack of love and a blatant disregard for God’s law.
  10. Don’t covet what God has given to your neighbor. When you crave your neighbor’s job, house, car, spouse, boat, et al, your jealousy will affect your relationship with him, and your intense desire will lead to sinful actions. Keep your heart pure.

Love God and love each other. That is the core of the Ten Commandments.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.