So this news piece by Lauren Green caught my eye. The thesis of her article concerning a U.S. District Judge’s attempt to resolve a dispute between the ACLU and the Giles Country, Viginia School District by eliminating the first four Commandments is to explain how doing so ultimately empties the last six of their authoritative value. In other words, the Judge’s suggestion will not work. Ms Green is arguing that the 10 Commandments must be taken as a whole and must not be separated for diplomatic expediency. She makes a great point.
Certainly God knew this when he inspired Moses to write them down on stone tablets.
These 10 instructions must be taken as a whole. They cannot be broken up, separated, or casually dismissed. These instructions are timelessly true for all persons everywhere irrespective of ethnicity, culture, economic statues, or political or sexual persuasion. Mankind will either live or die by them; he will be blessed if he obeys them and cursed if he does not.
Ms. Green is right; the 10 Commandments are not suggestions.
Consider for a moment the nature and character of God’s Law as found in the famous passage in Psalm 19:7-11:
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; They are sweeter than honey, than honey from a comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
A summary might look like this:
…Revives the soul (v.7a)
…Makes the simple wise (v.7b)
…Gives joy to the heart, light to the eyes (8)
…Is pure, enduring forever (v.9a)
…Is sure and altogether righteous (v.9b)
…Is more pure, precious than gold (v.10a)
…Is sweeter than honey (v.10b)
…Warns His people (v.11a)
…Rewards the faithful (v11b)
Given such a glowing list of attributes, how is it that our culture derides the presence of God’s commands in the public sector?
Perhaps it is precisely because they reveal God’s character while simultaneously exposing ours. We look at them and hate what we see. We see a holy, perfect, blameless God. But we also see our own perversion. They disgust us not because there is anything wrong with the Commandments but because we are wholly rebellious to the God who authored them. We, humanity, are full of transgression.
Accordingly, we prefer to follow the path of least resistance. So rather than taking the hard path of accepting them on their own merits, we would rather chose the easier path of expelling them from our presence. The benefit of the more traveled road is we get to live life our way without any – or at least as much – moral conviction. We, humanity, earn the “privilege” of deciding right from wrong, just from unjust, moral from immoral.
But in doing so, we loose ourselves from that which moors us to reality, tethers us to a fixed anchor point. We become adrift at sea – and not a calm sea either for this world is tumultuous and harsh. This path’s final destination is anarchy. Destruction. Death.
I submit our country is well along this path of anarchy. We have been adrift for some time. It is hard to say when exactly the chains grounding us to a common sense of morality shattered. More likely, it has been a gradual deterioration. In either case, the end result remains the same. We are destroying ourselves by our own choices. We have forsaken the First Commandment and subsequently all the rest.
Dislike them we may, expel them we do,
But without human vote they still remain true.
Our moral conscience we may have lifted,
Only to find our souls have drifted
From that established, safe dock
To billowing seas crushing jagged rock.
Where freedom once sought,
We rudely discover our destruction we’ve brought.
So, take heed, fellow traveler. Maybe the higher road, the path less traveled, isn’t so bad after all!