Exodus 20b

Exodus 20: “Who are we for, Daddy?”


“ But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom

you will serve, whether the gods of your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of

the Ammonites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the

Lord.” ( Joshua 24) Have you publicly proclaimed who you will serve? Who are you for?


“Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (

Matthew 4, Deut.8:3) Do we fully understand this statement? Life is found in God and sustained

by a relationship with Him and His Word. Well being depends upon trust & obedience. This

tells us what the divine intention of God was in giving mankind the law. Man was to receive the

Word of God directly from God’s mouth. We are then to yield in unquestioning obedience to it.


King Solomon, David’s son, was considered one of the wisest men to ever live. His reign was

known for the building of the temple and numerous other works and in the words of the Queen

of Sheba who came to see for herself the greatness of this king, she remarked: “ The report

I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not

believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me;

in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.” In other words, King Solomon

was successful beyond anything she had imagined and yet, when we read Ecclesiastes, we hear

this mighty King who looks back on his life, his accomplishments, his reputation and makes this

statement: “ Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.: ( Eccl



King Solomon is stating what he had learned from experience that in spite of his learning, the

honors he had received, the building projects, the sensual delight, money, riches, power and

possessions it was meaningless without God. Life not centered on God is without purpose and

meaning. He then writes in Eccl. 12:13-“ Now all that is heard; here is the conclusion of the

matter: Fear God and Keep His Commandments, for this is the WHOLE DUTY OF MAN.”


Did you get that? One of the wisest and most successful men in history, wealthier than Bill

Gates, a greater manager of assets than Warren Buffett is giving you in one concise statement

what is the purpose and main duty of man- to fear God and keep His commandments.


“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering

the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for

the eater; so is My Word that goes from my mouth: It will not return to me void, but will

accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” ( Isaiah 55) God is telling

us His Word will achieve its purpose for which He sent it.




“ For whoever keeps the WHOLE law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all

of it.” ( James 2:10) Pay attention to those – ‘alls and wholes’ we are to love the Lord with all

our heart, trust Him with all our heart and seek Him with all our hearts- Whole Heartedeness

leads to a desire to keep the whole law.


Peter said, “we are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of

God which lives and abides forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the

flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls away; but the Word of the Lord

endures forever.” I Peter 1;24,25.


“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness



“The Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than a two edged sword, piercing even to

the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of

the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ( Hebrews 4:12)


We are told if we meditate on his word day and night we will have fruitful lives; we are told to

study to show ourselves approved; to hide His Word in our hearts that we might not sin against

Him; to pray always.


I have quoted all of these to support the quote from Moses and Jesus regarding the

commandments- we are to live by EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF

GOD. The Ten Commandments are a chain,to break one is to break all.


These passages are linked to the common thought that human life is perfectly conditioned

when it is governed by the Word of God. Why with this emphasis on its importance- would we

not strive to keep the Whole Law? Are we deceived into thinking that we can break the law of

God without consequence? Has your old nature convinced you –no one is perfect, rationalizing

your disobedience? Paul said: God Forbid- that we who are dead to sin, should live any longer

in it.


The Word is not only the incorruptible seed which brings new life, and lasts forever. It also has

a singular purpose- the purpose of all Bible study is obedience. This will also grow our faith , for

faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Obedience to His Word is where we

find rest. Paul tells us clearly: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to

obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one to whom you obey-whether slaves to sin, which

leads to death, or obedience which leads to righteousness? You have been set free from sin and

have become slaves to righteousness.” ( Romans 6)


Do you realize the Word of God is the Key to unlocking the gates of your prison?




It is clear sin is no longer our master. We have exchanged the yoke of sin for the yoke of Christ.

( Matthew 11). The Lord tells us when we are yoked to Him, we will find rest. He also tells us

when we are yoked to Him we will learn from Him. We are not only slaves or servants to that

which we are yoked, we are also students of that which we are yoked to. And don’t miss this-

you will never be without a yoke- of one kind or the other. Make sure you are yoked with the

Lord Jesus.


Now as we look at the fifth commandment to Honor your father and mother, we are now

turning from those commandments that were given to govern our relationship with God to

those laws which shall govern our relationships with others, beginning with our parents.


Many theologians believe the first five commandments were on one stone, and the last five on

the second stone. This makes this commandment in their thinking a ‘ bridge commandment’; a

pivotal commandment that segues from Godward to manward.


Let’s think about this: Jesus told the disciples to ‘ let the little children come to me, and do not

hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who

will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ( Luke 18) What do we

know about a child’s relationship with parents? It begins in complete trust and dependence.

This is exactly what true humility is. We depended on our parents for everything and we

believed there was not anything they could not do. The kingdom of God belongs to those who

like children are prepared to receive it as a gift. It cannot be achieved by human effort. It can

only be entered by those who know they are helpless, without claim or merit.


So our relationship to God as God has commanded it in the first four commandments in a

child’s life will be based on, influenced and shaped by their relationship with their parents. I

remember once when my sons were small and we were watching football games, one of them

asked me: “ Who are we for Daddy?” When I told them who I was for, they immediately were

for that sports team and the truth of it is- they are still for those teams now as grown men.


Who are we for, Daddy? What a question. The answer is: “For by Him all things were created:

things in heaven, and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or

authorities; all things were created by Him and FOR HIM.” We are for God, for the Lord. We

were made for God, to have a relationship with God, to worship God. Every person needs God,

because we were all made to worship. God set eternity in the heart of man.( Eccl. 3) That is

why the first commandment is to have no other gods before Almighty God who created us.


Notice that God’s commandment is to honor both father and mother. It is God’s plan for a

family to consist of both a father and a mother for both of them are a prerequisite to form a

true representation of God to a child and consequently to the development of a child’s full




possibilities and potential. Which means a marriage between a man and a man or a woman and

woman does not meet God’s plan for a family and thus the raising of a child. That is also why

divorce and the single parent home is so difficult and painful, because it is not God’s plan for a



So using this commandment as a bridge let’s see how we apply it to the first four





If we are for God, we are not going to have any other gods before Him. We are loyal to

Him. ( A Red Sox fan would never be for Yankees.)

If we are for God, we will not have any idols in the form of anything. He is Number One-

and He will not work in second place.

If we are for God, we will not misuse His name, or take it in vain.

If we are for God, we will not forsake the assembling to worship Him in spirit and truth

one day out of seven. ( You wouldn’t miss a home game, would you?)

If we are for God, if we love the Lord Jesus, He said we would keep His commandments.









Who are we for, Daddy? Who do we follow? If the keeping of His commandments is a

barometer of who and what we follow- how are you doing? What defines a ‘ follower’? What

defines your relationship with God?


How do we evaluate our relationship with God? The way most of us evaluate or measure is by

comparison. We grade ourselves by comparing with others, which means we are starting off

by grading on the curve. That usually means to make yourself feel better, you will compare to

someone who is not doing as well as you are. Or we have certain criteria- which include: how

often we attend church; what ministries we are involved in; our giving or how many short-term

mission trips we have been a part of. We also have those list of things we do not do that add

points to our grade: we do not smoke or drink, dance or swear. ( I hesitate to mention this- but

probably many Muslims are doing better in some of these categories than we are.)


The truth is we are to measure by the plumb line of God’s Word and by the Life of the Lord



In Kyle Idleman’s popular book, “ Not a Fan”, he asks the question ‘ are you a follower of

Jesus?” Then he proceeds to explain by scriptural examples the difference between a ‘fan’

and a ‘follower.’ A fan is described as an enthusiastic admirer. A follower is a little more

challenging to answer.


Here is what Idleman writes: “ When we decide to believe in Jesus without making a

commitment to follow Him, we become nothing more than fans.”




Let’s look at a passage that is the heart of the gospel, John 3. A man named Nicodemus a

well known and learned rabbi, a distinguished member of the Sanhedrin comes to visit Jesus

at night. He is an enthusiastic admirer of Jesus, having heard his teaching and witnessed his



The encounter turns out to be a very uncomfortable and challenging encounter for Nicodemus.

Nicodemus would have to choose between his religion and a relationship with Jesus. If

he became a known follower of Jesus, Nicodemus would lose his standing in the religious

community and the Sanhedrin. Losing his position would involve a loss of status in the



Are you beginning to see the impact? Following Jesus costs something. Nicodemus would have

to decide, he would have to commit.


Now having just looked at the first five commandments we begin to think, maybe we are not so

bad. Maybe we can give ourselves pat on the back.


Now we look at the last five commandments:


Thou shalt not kill. Okay- I am alright here. Yet Jesus warned against anger with one’s brother

without cause. This also means we are to honor life, for all life is a gift from God


Adultery Jesus said began when a man lusted in his heart after a woman. Sin begins in the



The commandment not to steal is a commandment to respect personal property. You are not to

steal time from your employer, steal someone’s good name with gossip or steal from God what

belongs to God.


We are to respect the truth and not tell lies or slander our neighbors. I believe this also means

gossip and tale bearing.


We are to control our desires by not coveting what others possess. Coveting reveals the power

of thought. The mind operates as a filter for the heart. To covet means to desire enviously.

Coveting begins with a thought that leads to a desire to take pleasure in those things God has

forbidden. Coveting leads to a lack of respect for others. It also leads to idolatry. Coveting is

primarily where the ungodly search for happiness. The first and last commandments deal with

what’s in ones’ heart. And the 8 commandments in-between are the outward actions of what

began in the heart. The first commandment is about loving the Lord thy God with all your heart,

soul, mind and strength. The last commandment is about loving your neighbor as yourself. The

eight commandments in-between are all based on keeping those two commandments. If we

love God with all our hearts- there will be no other god , nor idol. We will revere His name, not




take it in vain. We will remember to set aside one day in seven to worship Him in spirit and



Also if we love our neighbor as ourselves we will not commit: murder, steal, slander and bear

tales against our neighbor nor will we covet our neighbor’s possessions.


These commandments tell us how we are to behave as believers. Our behavior should match

our beliefs, right? When they do not match – when our walk does not match our talk, there is

a problem. And it is a heart problem. For it is with the heart one believes.


For if we say we are for the Lord. If we say we are Christians we must know if we are for the

Lord: there is no forgiveness without repentance. There is no salvation without surrender.

There is no life without death. There is no believing without committing.


Let me tell you what these commandments do- they make you ask some questions that make

you uncomfortable. They are like that red light flashing on your car dashboard that says check

engine. You can do like one person did and put a piece of black tape over the red light, so

everyone who gets in your car will not say-‘ Hey, did you know your check engine light is on?”


Or you can examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. Take a look under the hood, take a

look at your heart. “Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do

you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you- unless, of course,you fail the test? (2Cor. 13) And I

trust you will discover that we have not failed the test.


Real faith is simple faith. Real faith trust God not self- just like a child trusts his/her parents.


You test to discover or prove your faith. To prove something- you need proof, evidence. Are

you bearing fruit? Can you show your faith by your works?


Know yourself. You need to know that you know that you know.


Joshua knew who he and his household were for, didn’t he? As for me and mine- we are for the

Lord, he said.