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Call Sealed with Promise

Unit 2: Called to Be God's People
(Lessons 5-8)

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Have you ever received a speeding ticket? It's irritating. I could justifY my­ BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE:
self very easily, for I had been following a slow-moving car for about 3 miles. DEUTERONOMY 5:1-27
The speed limit was 55 mph; the other car was doing 50 mph, and I couldn't PRINTED TEXT:
pass. Finally, I saw my opportunity to pass and did so. Then I saw the flash­ DEUTERONOMY 5:1-9a, 11-13,
ing lights of the town police. At first I was puzzled, but then I realized he was 16-21
after me, not the slow driver!
He said I was doing 65 mph in a 55 mph zone. "But officer, I had to reach
that speed to get around this slow driver," who was still slow-poking his way I

down the road. "Sir, I thought I was being safe by getting around the car as : LESSON AIMS
quickly as I could so that I could get back on the right side of the road." His 1. Recite the Ten Com­
response? "You really were doing over 65, but I'll write the ticket for only 10 mandments from memmy.
mph over the limit, which will cost you $175." Did I think I deserved the 2. Explain the relationship
ticket? Nooooo! Did I learn my lesson about the law? Yes: break the law and : between the Ten Command­
pay the consequences. Obey the law and everyone is safer. : ments and the new covenant
God gave hundreds of rules of conduct to Israel. The most familiar expres- . in Jesus.
sion of these is the Ten Commandments. Paul stresses that today we are not 3. Identify one of the Ten
under law, but under grace (Romans 6: 14). This does not mean that rules : Commandments that he
of conduct are thrown out the window--quite the contrary. The church has i or she has the most trouble
been given rules in a new format by Jesus (see Matthew 22:34-40). Com- , keeping and make a plan for

mandments that are expressions of the nature of God are unchanging since change.

God himself does not change (Malachi 3:6). We ignore the Old Testament

origin of such commands at our peril.

The book of Deuteronomy is a covenant renewal treaty, delivered by
Moses in a series of speeches (Deuteronomy 1:1-4:43; 4:44-28:68; etc.).
The recipients were the Israelites of a new generation who were about to
enter the promised land. Moses was about to die on Mount Nebo, located in
Moab (Deuteronomy 34). Deuteronomy 5-11 is the high point of the book.
Here the Ten Commandments are recounted (Deuteronomy 5; compare Exo­
dus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4). This is followed by an exposition
of how to love and obey the one true God (Deuteronomy 6-11).
There are different ways to categorize the laws in the Bible. One help­
ful way is to distinguish between laws that are conditional and those that
are unconditional. The first kind has a conditional clause (beginning with KEY VERSE
"if" or "when," either expressed or implied), followed by a declarative Hear, 0 Israel, the decrees
judgment (beginning with "then," either expressed or implied; examples: and laws I declare in your
Exodus 21:28; 22:26, 27). Unconditional laws are what we have with the hearing today. Learn them
Ten Commandments. They are foundation principles for Israel's covenant and be sure to follow them.
relationship. -Deuteronomy 5:1

IULY5~ 200_9 _ _ 428 ---"A-"-'C~CEPTI~..G....GQD'S..RUJJ;s

LESSON 5 NOTES The setting for today's lesson is "in the valley near Beth Peor east of the
Jordan, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites" (Deuteronomy 4:46). The
year is about 1406 BC

A. SUMMONS (v. 1)
1. Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, 0 Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them
and be sure to follow them.
All Israel must hear and obey these laws. No one is exempt, because all
WHAT Do You THINK? are part of the covenant community. Hear, 0 Israel is a special phrase in Deu­
Why does hearing often teronomy (compare Deuteronomy 4:1; 6:3, 4; 9:1; 20:3; 27:9). "To hear"
not result in obeying? How do includes the idea of obedience. Moses emphasizes obedience by using the ad­
we counteract this tendency? ditional words learn them and be sure to follow them.
[Make sure to look at
James 1:22 as you frame your B. HISTORY (v. 2)
answer.} 2. The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.
Horeb refers at least to Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1; 33:6; Deuteronomy 1:6;
etc.) and perhaps some of the surrounding area. The covenant that God made
with his people there is recorded in Exodus 19 and following. But as Moses
speaks now, the 40 years of wilderness wanderings are at an end (Deuter­
onomy 1:3). Thus, this is Moses' exhortation to a new generation.
Many people now live in communities governed by CC&Rs---eovenants, con­
ditions, and restrictions. CC&Rs cover issues involving setbacks, lot lines, ease­
ments, fees for road and commons areas, pets, landscaping, fencing, placement
of basketball goals, and even allowable paint colors.
What would make a person agree to the stringent stipulations of CC&Rs? The
Monday, June 29-A answer is that the restrictions provide a means of maintaining property values and
Covenant by Sacrifice (Psalm the quality of life for the residents. They maintain a consistent, predictable ambi­
50: 1-6) ance in the neighborhood.
Tuesday, June 30­ The covenant that God announced at Horeb had the intended purpose of help­
Listening to the Prophet (Acts ing Israel maintain a proper spiritual ambiance within their newly fonning nation.
3:17-25) If Israel would keep the covenant, spiritual decline would not take place. The Isra­
Wednesday, July 1­ elites would find their lives blessed. The new covenant we have through Christ
A Covenant of Obedience will accomplish this too, but only if we keep it. like Israel, we have to honor the
(Psalm 132:11-18) covenant to enjoy its blessings. -C R. B.
Thursday, July 2­
Mediator ofa Better : C. AUDIENCE (w. 3, 4)
Covenant (Hebrews 8:6-12) 3. It was not with our fathers that the LORD made this covenant, but with us,

Friday, July 3-A with all ofus who are alive here today.

Covenant ofMercy (Romans The phrase It was not with ourfathers that the Lord made this covenant has
11 :25-32) drawn more than one interpretation. It is possible that ourfathers refers to the
Saturday, July 4-The patriarchs (forefathers) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-long dead by Moses' day
Greatest Commandment (see Deuteronomy 1:8; 4:31,37; 7:8, 12; 8:18; 9:5). If that is the case, then
(Matthew 22:34-40) : a contrast is being made between the promise of land and blessing to the pa­
Sunday, July 5-God triarchs and the Sinai covenant for the nation of Israel.
Makes a Covenant Another suggestion is that ourfathers refers to those immediate ancestors
(Deuteronomy 5:1-9, 11-13, who died during the 40 years of wilderness wanderings. Under this idea, God
16-21) had tried to include them in the covenant, but they rejected the covenant
LESSON~5_ _ 429 ----J1;LY_5->-_2_QO_9_
because of rebellion (Deuteronomy 1:26-46). Either way, we do not want to WHAT Do You THINK?
lose sight of the fact that Moses is emphasizing the relevance of the Sinai cov­ How can we talk to God
enant for the generation standing before him. and know that he is listen­
4. The LORD spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. ing? How can we make sure
The event this verse refers to is found in Exodus 19: 16-25. At first glance, we hear what God is saying
the verse before us seems like a contradiction to what actually happened, for to us? How do we counteract
the people themselves never really talked with Yahweh face to face. But verse 5 inteiference in each direction
(next) clears up the matter of communication?
D. MEDIATOR (v. 5)
5. (At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of
the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.)
And he said:
This restates the mediating position of Moses. Indeed, the people had
been afraid of the fire (see Exodus 19: 16-19), and they had trembled. On the
mountain, Moses had represented Israel before God (Deuteronomy 5:23-31).
It is in that sense that the people had talked with the Lord face to face.

E. BASIS (v. 6)

6.... "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land


The nation ofIsrael certainly didn't bring itself out of Egypt! It was none
other than the Lord your God who did that. This is important to stress at this
point in light of what immediately follows: a restating of the Ten Command­
ments. The Lord's deliverance is a vital part of the basis for obedience to him.

II. LAWS REPEATED (DEUTERONOMY 5:7-9A, 11-13, 16-21)
A. No OTHER GODS (v. 7)
7. "You shall have no other gods before me.
This is an exclusive statement, since the people are commanded to ex­
clude other gods from thoughts, actions, and worship. The pluralistic society
we live in today doesn't like such statements. But it is just as valid today as it
was in Moses' day. WHAT Do You THINK?
The fertility gods of Canaan will be a great temptation to Israel, as time will What are some "other
tell. Yet it is Yahweh who has "married" Israel (compare Ezekiel 16:8). This i gods" that exist in society
covenant relationship is to be exclusive, as the marriage of one man and one i today? in our own lives? How
woman should be. This ideal is foundational to all the other rules of God. It do we counteract these?
cuts very much against the cultural practices of Israel's day.

B. No IMAGES (w. 8, 9a)

8, 9a. "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the fonn ofanything in

heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow

down to them or worship them."

This, the Second Commandment, is a summary of what has already been
rehearsed in the historical prologue of Deuteronomy. There Moses warns the
people against the idolatrous worship that is so prevalent in Egypt and Ca­
naan (see 4:9-24). The prohibition we see here includes attempts to present
Yahweh God in the form ofanything created.
At some point in life, everyone becomes curious about what God "looks
like." The answer is that the Creator doesn't look like anything that he has
created. Cartoons often portray God as a kindly, white-haired old man.
Such depictions violate this commandment.

11. "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will
not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
This commandment is usually thought of in the context of the use of
· God's name in cursing. But the implications are much deeper in the original
historical and cultural context. The Law of Moses forbids using God's name
Visual for Lessons 5 &: for personal gain in terms of magical arts or divination (see Numbers 22-24).
12. Be sure to have this vi­ To swear an oath by God's name is not forbidden in and of itself (see Deuter­
sual displayed as you begin onomy 6:13; 10:20), but the Israelites must not make false oaths in Yahweh's
the Into the Word segment name (see Leviticus 19:12). Today, we are sadly aware of cases where televan­
on page 433. gelists have traded on the name of God to enrich themselves. This is a viola­
tion of this commandment. The ancient Hebrews became fearful to the point
that they used the designation Adonai ("Lord") as a substitute for Yahweh's
I name, thinking that this would avoid the misuse of God's name. This prac­
· tice did not solve the problem.

12, 13. "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has
commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work."
The word Sabbath means "ceasing." The Sabbath day has to be observed
on the seventh day of every week in imitation of God's ceasing his labors
Jfrom creating (see Exodus 20:11). While Exodus says to remember this day
for reasons tied to God's original work in creation, Deuteronomy adds the
idea of keeping the Sabbath because of the deliverance of Israel from slavery.
This is creation in terms of forming the people of God (Deuteronomy 5: 15,
not in today's text). These two reasons complement one another and give full
force to the importance of using one day a week for worship and rest. This
commandment puts the brakes on unending economic competition (com­
WHAT Do You THINK? pare Nehemiah 13: 15-22). Observing this day of rest will provide needed
In what ways have you ap­ respite to people, beasts, and equipment.
plied to your life the Old Tes­ Some modem businesses run by Christians practice this rule by not open-
tament principle ofregular, · ing for business on Sunday, the Christian worship day. A day of rest is still a
scheduled periods ofrest? good idea, but to insist that Sunday is a kind of "Christian Sabbath" for all
believers would violate freedom in Christ (Romans 14:5; Colossians 2: 16).
Before moving on, we should observe that nine of the Ten Command­
ments always apply because they are based on the unchanging nature of
God. One of the Ten Commandments-the one we are looking at here-is
based on the work of God. In the New Testament era, our focus is on God's
work of a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 17; Galatians 6: 15). Thus
Sabbath-keeping is not in force for us. Our concern is not primarily with the
seventh day of the week, but with the first (Acts 20:7); this is the Lord's Day
(Revelation 1: 10).

16. "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has com­
manded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the
land the LORD your God is giving you.

LESSON 5 431 JULY 5,2009
This commandment is vital to the continuity of the covenant. Children are WHAT Do You THINK?
to honor parents by heeding their teaching and looking after them in old age. What are some practical
The apostle Paul notes that this is the first commandment that has a promise . ways we can honor our par­
attached to it-the promise that you may live long (see Ephesians 6:2). So im­ ents? How does (or should)
portant is this rule to the social, economic, and spiritual strength of Israelite the way we honor our parents
society that rebellious children in ancient Israel are to be put to death (see change as the years pass?
Deuteronomy 21: 18-21)! Today, we should take seriously our obligation to
take care of aging parents (Mark 7:9-13; 1 Timothy 5:4). Practice of this rule
will strengthen the fabric of the family, society, and the church.

E Do NOT MURDER (v. 17)
17. "You shall not murder.
This prohibition is based on the fact that we are created in God's image
(see Genesis 1:26,27; 9:6). Murder is considered to be a capital crime in
ancient Israel, meaning that it is punishable by death (see Exodus 21: 12;
Leviticus 24:17; Numbers 35:30,31). Manslaughter has its own law (Deuter­
onomy 19:4-6). Some students believe that support for capital punishment
may be found in the New Testament in Acts 25: 11 and Romans 13:4.

18. "You shall not commit adultery.
Adultery is sexual relations between two adults where at least one is mar­
ried to someone else. Adultery strikes at the heart of the covenant relation­
ship between man and wife, and it is considered a great sin in Israel. Since
adultery is so disruptive to the foundation of family, it is considered a capital
crime (Leviticus 20: 10; Deuteronomy 22:23-27). The seriousness of adultery
is seen in how this word is used figuratively to describe Israel's unfaithfulness
to God 0eremiah 3:6-9; Ezekiel 23). The prohibition against adultery contin­
ues in the New Testament (compare Matthew 5:27-30). The sad commentary
on modem Western society is how often this rule is violated. The evil conse­
quences have a ripple effect, as we know.

H. Do NOT STEAL (v. 19)
19. "You shall not steal.
Land and property in ancient Israel are to be considered God-given. To How TO SAY IT
steal is to violate the owner as well as God who grants the property. Even Abraham. AY-bmh-ham.
kings are prohibited from misappropriating personal property (1 Kings 21). If Adonai (Hebrew). Ad-owe-
someone is caught stealing, restitution and a severe penalty are to be exacted NYE.
(see Exodus 22:1-13). Once again, the fabric of society rests on this rule. Amorites. AM-uh-rites.

Today, there seems to be no end to the imagination of those who steal. The Beth Peor. Beth PEA-or.

problem involves not just property and possessions, but identities as well. Canaan. KAY-nun.

Identity theft can ruin reputations, credit ratings, etc. Isaac. EYE-zuh.


I. Do NOT GIVE FALSE TESTIMONY (v. 20) .Jericho..JAIR-ih-co.

20. "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Moab. MO-ab.

All societies must depend on the truthfulness of testimony for justice to be Moses. MO-zes or MO-zez.

done in the courtroom. A pe~urer (one who lies under oath) is to suffer the Nebo. NEE-bo.

punishment of the crime involved (see Deuteronomy 19: 16-21). At least two patriarchs. PAY-tree-arhs.

witnesses are required to establish the truth (19: 15). When justice is per­ Sihon. SIGH-hun.

verted in the courtroom, the result is a corrupt society. Yahweh (Hebrew). YAH-weh.


PR4.YER i J Do NOT COVET (v. 21)
Father, may our look to 21. "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on
Israel's past help guide our your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or don­
Chlistian future. May your key, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. "
Ten Commandments teach Coveting is the unnatural and excessive desire for something. We could
us most ofall about you. In say that the Tenth Commandment treats the real cause for the violation of
Chlist's name. Amen. all God's rules. By coveting another man's wife, King David illustrates how
that one sin can lead to adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11, 12). Although
not discussed in this commandment, it is even possible to covet one's own
possessions; byJesus' day this led some people to dishonor their parents via
the Corban procedure, a way of skirring the Fifth Commandment (see Mark
We are to be content with what we have (Luke 3: 14; 1 Timothy 6:8; He­
brews 13:5). Covetousness is a sin of the mind that will lead to sins of the flesh
if left unchecked.
The latter portion of the Ten Commandments deals with human rel2.tionships.
We are all aware of how the Jews by Jesus' time had devised all sorts of ways to
violate the spirit of God's instructions while still seeming to keep the letter of the
law (Matthew 23). It is easy enough to condemn those who did so, although the
same thing happens today, sometimes in very innovative ways.
Consider stealing for instance. One of the ways to appear to do good for our
neighbors is to donate a used vehicle to charity. In one such case, a 1990 Mer­
cury was donated to charity, and its owner claimed its value was $2,915 for the
tax write-off. The car brought $30 at auction. By the time the auctioneer was paid
and other costs were taken care of, the charity actually lost $130! The U.S. govern­
ment's General Accounting Office has discovered numerous cases in which own­
ers valued their cars at many times over the auction price.
This was an attempt to defraud the government via an u~iustified deduction
(compare Matthew 22:21; Romans 13: 7). We may try to rationalize our behavior
just as theJews in ancient times did. But God knows the motives of the heart.
-c. R. B.
Any society that adheres to the principles of the Ten Commandments will
experience stability in various ways. Christians believe that these rules came
from God himself to the people of God. Christ said, "Do not think that I have
come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them
but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17). We must not substitute human tradi­
tions for God's good commands (Mark 7:8,9).
The aposde Paul stresses that we are under the system of grace, not the
system oflaw, for salvation (Romans 6: 14). But Paul also applies the Fifth
Commandment to all Christian parents and children (Ephesians 6:2, 3). He
proclaims boldly in Romans 13: 10 that "love is the fulfillment of the law";
this statement follows his quotation of four of the Ten Commandments in
Romans 13:9. Paul advises in Romans 7:7 that the law has made us knowl­
edgeable about sin; as an example, he quotes the Tenth Commandment.
Thus the Ten Commandments are by no means obsolete!
God has entered into a new covenant with his people through Jesus
Christ. Since Christ is the "end" (culmination) of the law (Romans 10:4), we
now continue the new covenant relationship with God by keeping the law

of Christ. This is a committed love for God and our neighbor (see Galatians
6:2). By living in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians fulfill the "righteous THOUGHT TO REMEMBER
requirements of the law"; the Ten Commandments help us not to "live ac­ Obeying God's rules
cording to the sinful nature" (Romans 8:4). pleases him.

Discovery Learning

The following is an alternative lesson plan emphasizing learning activities.

Classes desiring such student involvement will find these suggestions helpful. At the

bach of this booh are reproducible student pages to further enhance activity learning.

INTO THE LESSON 20, 21. Give each team a photocopy of the page of
Say, "Fireworks are used in celebrations, just as the lesson commentary that applies to their verses.
they were used this week in the lJ.s. Independence Note: for smaller classes, use fewer teams and as­
Day observances. However, there are rules one must sign more than two commandments to each.
follow in using fireworks. What are some of those Write on the board (or list on handouts) the fol­
rules?" Jot responses on the board. Then ask, "What lowing tasks: 1. Read the Scriptures assigned and
are some possible consequences of breaking those the lesson commentary on those verses. 2. Explain
rules?" Write these responses on the board as well. and clarify the commandments for the class. 3.
Make the transition to Bible study by saying, Give examples of how the commandments you are
"Rules are made for our protection and for the studying may be broken in 2009.4. Remembering
good of society. It was God's concern for the well­ that rules are usually made for personal and soci­
being of his people that he issued the most famous etal benefit, explain how the commandments you
set of rules in history." are studying bless God's people in today's world.
Alternative introduction: Arrange chairs in close As the teacher, make personal notes about the
rows to simulate a bus. As students are seated, ask responses to the third task. You will need these
them to imagine they are riding in a bus traveling to notes later in the lesson.
visit the state capital. However, the bus must pass Give Team #6 a photocopy of the Conclusion
through a dangerous part of the city. Ask, "What are in the commentary along with the following as­
some terrible things that might happen on this tour?" signment: Your task is to read the printed text and
Write answers on the board. Ask what law or the copy of the lesson conclusion from the lesson
rule has been made to help protect us from each commentary. Be ready to explain briefly the relation­
of the dangers mentioned. Make the transition to ship between the Ten Commandments and the new
Bible study by stating, "Laws or rules are usually covenant inJesus. As Teams #1 through #5 make
made for our protection and security. A concern for their reports, write the commandments on the board
protection and security prompted God to issue the using abbreviated headings similar to those used in
most famous set of laws recorded in history." the lesson commentary outline (example: "Honor
Parents"). Then allow Team #6 to make its report.
Read Deuteronomy 5: 1-6 aloud. Give a very INTO LIFE
brief lecture from the Lesson Background that ex­ Mem011zation Activity: Say, "Many believers
plains why the Ten Commandments were being cannot list more than about five of the Ten Com:­
repeated at that particular point in history. mandments. We would like to do better! The first
Divide the class into 6 study teams of 2 to 4 four commandments address our relationship with
people each. For Teams #1 through #5, make the God. The last six focus on our relationship with
following Scripture assignments: Team # 1, verses each other."
7-9a; Team #2, verses 11-13; Team #3, verses 16, Read through the list together as you refer to
17; Team #4, verses 18, 19; and Team #5, verses the headings you wrote on the board. As you