Exodus 20:12-17 – God is at the heart of community

Walking Through Exodus

Devotions - Week 12

“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
 “You shall not murder.
 “You shall not commit adultery.
 “You shall not steal.
 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
Exodus  20:12-17
We have been looking at the final 6 commandments in Exodus chapter 20 where God the Father declares his laws and seals his covenant with the Israelites. They were pauses on route to the promised land at Mount Sinai. There is a tendency when looking at the 10 commandments, to treat them as a list of rules to follow in order not to be on God’s bad side.  The reality is that we get to see God’s heart for these people as he delivers on his promise to Abraham by making his descendants into a great nation. The 10 commandments are where this promise takes on a more civil and social focus.

Thus far the Lord has brought his people out of Egypt and provided them with instructions on how to live as his people before they enter the promised land (Canaan). The theme for Exodus is that God fulfils his promises and we get to see that in how he’s taken these descendants of Abraham and turned them into a great nation. The plan was for Israel to live before God in the world, obeying the covenant instruction that he will reveal to them.

Understanding the purpose of the 10 commandments is key to understanding more about God's character. Exodus 19:4-6 tells us how a dynamic relationship with God works, in obedience to him and his word resulting in him treasuring us as his possession. I like to think of the 10 commandments as God protecting his most prized possession, similar to how we would put rules in place to protect things we loved like valuable items or people. We protect the things we care about.

While the first 4 commandments focus on your relationship with God the last 6 all focus on the people around you. There is a collective responsibility to adhere to these commandments, creating an environment that all would benefit from no matter their background.

The sixth commandment causes you to reflect on your earthly relationship with your parents and outlines the responsibilities of both parties, children are to respect/obey their parents, and parents are to raise and nurture their children in the Lord. It’s the only commandment including a promise to increase your days in the land referring to having God’s presence and favour.

The next 3 commandments, stealing, murder and lying, were considered a basic requirement for Israel to be known as a holy and just nation. The call to not murder is upgraded by Jesus to not being angry. For adultery, Jesus states that even looking at women lustfully in your heart is a sin. Showing us that sexual purity is something to be valued. There is also the call to not pervert the course of justice, when you consider that an environment in keeping with this command is one filled with truth.

Ultimately our ability to follow the rules highlights the gap between God and man. We can never bridge the gap between ourselves and God. Hence the need for Jesus, to bridge the gap between God and man, he is our advocate before the Father because he fulfils all the law. The last commandment is the most interesting as it’s one rule that breaks them all but also highlights what’s in your heart.  


  1. Which of the 6 commandments do you find most challenging and why?

  2. Read Matthew 19:16-30 why did the rich man leave disappointed? What does this say about his heart? How does this point to idolatry?

  3. Pray for the community that God has placed you in right now. And pray for the environment that he is cultivating through his people. Pray for an opportunity to display God's love through obedience to his word and commitment to his people.


Father God,

Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for your word clear for all to see. We thank you for the love that you pour out for your people, that you value us like a precious stone and wish for us to be set apart for you. Jesus is the bridge that bring us back you. We thank you for Jesus who fulfils all the law so we can worship you in spirit and truth.  

This Everyday Devotion was written by Emeka Maddy, an Elder at our Sutton Venue.

If you would like to listen to the whole of this week’s sermon on "Exodus 20:12-17 – The Heart Of Community", why not download the Everyday Church App or visit our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions is accompanied by a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Join us as we walk through the book of Exodus by following our daily Exodus Bible Reading Plan.

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