- "You shall have no other gods before me."
- "You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, recompensing the sins of the fathers of the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me; but showing mercy to thousands, to 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 the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: neither you, nor your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, your cattle, nor your stranger who sojourns with you. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them, and he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it."
- "Honor your father and mother that it may be well with you, and your days may be long upon the good land 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 wife or his house, and neither shall you covet his field, nor his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, any of his cattle, or whatever belongs to your neighbor."
After Moses had led God's people out of the land of Egypt, he received the Ten Commandments. The people were camped in the Sinai Desert before the mountain. Moses then ascended the mountain of God and the Lord spoke to him and a covenant between God and the people was created. On the third day, the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, that the people should observe them.
The Ten Commandments form the ethical code by which mankind is guided. Even to this day, they are still required of us. It does not stop there. Just following the Ten Commandments does not mean that we will inherit salvation and eternal life. We must go beyond these, just as Jesus says to the rich man in the New Testament (Matthew 19:16-30), who had followed the Ten Commandments all his life and asks what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus tells him that if he wishes to be perfect, to sell all that he has and give to the poor, and to come and follow Him. The rich man was saddened by this, as he had many riches, and the disciples were astonished, questioning who could be saved, to which Jesus responds, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
For this young man, riches were his first love and not God. For each and everyone one of us, anything that comes before God is a problem. In the rich young man's life his money came before God and it is this reason that God told him to go and sell all that he had. For each and everyone of us, it might be something else that we put before God. It might be our mother, our father, or even a particular possession or possessions that we personally highly value, even our career or business or field of study - forgetting God in the process.
Later in the New Testament, Jesus reveals to us the greatest commandment.
"But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?'
Jesus said to him, ''You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.'"
These two do not replace the previous commandments, nor are they separate from them but rather, they summarise them. When we love God completely, how can we sin, when we know that it is against God's will? The second which states, 'love your neighbor as yourself,' means that we must love our neighbour, as being created in God's image and likeness just as we are, which is where we find our true self.
In today's society, we can see that very few of these commandments are observed. When we have been given so much from God, the least that we can do is to observe His commandments. Just as a child loves his father and does what is asked of him, so too must we love our Father, and do what is asked of us.