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Part Seven: The Second Table of the Law, Part 3

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor—v. 17.

Coveting is a disease ever-present in the soul of humanity. The command forbidding it is, in fact, inextricably linked to the second commandment, because coveting implies we have elevated something or someone over God in our lives. Of course, we recognize it as inappropriate for a Christian, but the truth is we all have struggled with this command. This is why Paul addressed it in his letters to the Christians in Ephesians, Colosse and Romans.


Part Six: The Second Table of the Law, Part 2

You shall not commit adultery—v. 14.

This command is for both men and women, and prohibits sexual intercourse of a married person with the spouse of another. This is meant to protect not only a couple's dearest relationship, but the sacredness of marriage. Adultery in the Old Testament was punishable by death for both offenders (Lev. 20:20).

Part Three: The Value of the Law

Exodus 20:1—And God spoke all these words: 2] "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

David Guzik's Exodus commentary makes some of the following observations:
"As an introduction to the Law, God introduces Himself and reminds the Israelites once again what He has done—v. 2. It is because of who God is, and because of what He has done for us, He has the right to tell us what to do—and we have the obligation to obey Him. It's also important to draw the connection that the following Laws were not "invented" here at Mount Sinai.

Part Eight:The Response of Moses and the People to the Giving of the Law—Exodus 20:18-21

18] When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19] and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."
20] Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."
21] The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Part Five: The Second Table of the Law

R. Kent Hughes has said, " a floral bouquet, [the Ten Commandments'] maximum effect comes when they are held together, and empowered by the power and love of God."

Consider the first four again and notice that the Ten Commandments are very significantly arranged.

Part Four: The Commandments About God

You shall have no other gods before Me—v. 3.

God alone is to be recognized as God (Ex. 20:2-3). This doesn't mean we can have other gods as long as our God is first; "just keep Him on the top of the list." No way; this is exclusive! The words "before Me" mean "besides Me," or "in the presence of Me." So there are to be no other gods but our God—Deut. 8:11,17,19; 6:5,13,17; 10:12,20.

In our study of Old Testament characters, we discovered how Israel struggled with this in its history. David Guzik's Commentary for Exodus points out, "...great was the temptation to worship the gods of materialism (Baal, the god of weather and financial success) and sex (Ashtoreth, the goddess of sex, romance, and reproduction), or any number of other local deities."

Part Two: The Function of the Law

So what is the purpose of the Law? Essentially it operates as a mirror, reflecting and revealing. It was given:
  • To reveal God's glory and holiness—Deut. 5:22-28
  • To reveal man's sinfulness—Rom. 7:7,13; I Tim. 1:9ff; James 1:22-25. If we hold the law up to our life, like a mirror it reflects God’s glory, holiness and character, and reveals our sinfulness and need for a Savior.
  • To mark Israel as God's chosen people, and to separate them from the heathen Gentile nations—Ps. 147:19-20; Eph. 2:11-17; Acts 15
  • To give Israel a standard for godly living that they might inherit the land and enjoy its blessings—Deut. 4:1ff; 5:29ff; Judges 2:19-21
  • To prepare Israel for the coming of Christ—Gal. 3:24.
  • To illustrate in type and ceremony the Person and work of Christ—Heb. 10:1


Part One: Introduction

I wrote the following song to summarize what we studied in our last session on the life of Moses and the Ten Commandments. It is entitled: "On Eagles' Wings."

"I'll lift you up on eagles' wings. I'll carry you home. In your trials, I'll be with you and guide you through the storm. Remember My deliverance; I brought you here to be a kingdom priest, holy nation, a treasure for Me. You'll bring me to the place You planned, a promised land for me. If I'll obey Your commands, You'll keep me free."

These words are inspired by Exodus 19, as well as Israel's journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Let me highlight Exodus 19 and review what we have covered in our studies together.

Part Four: On Eagles' Wings—Exodus 19

There must be thousands of jokes that include Moses, Jesus, and someone else. Have you heard them? Since we are studying the life of Moses now, it might be good to stop for a minute and tell one. You may have heard it, but it's one of my favorites.

Moses and Jesus were part of a threesome playing golf one day. Moses pulled up to the tee and drove a long one. The ball landed in the fairway, but rolled directly toward a water trap. Quickly Moses raised his club, the water parted, and the ball rolled to the other side, safe and sound.


Part Three: "It's Either Too Much or Too Little Water;" For God's Glory and Our Growth—Exodus 14-15

In this study we're going to look again at probably the most famous Old Testament story—the crossing of the Red Sea.

It is helpful trto remember this principle: "Israel's history foreshadows in type and example our story as present day believers." Therefore, the positive purpose of Israel's history is to inspire us. Romans 15:4—For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Part Two: Between Compromise and Catastrophe—Exodus 8-14

Here are some Great Truths About Life That Little Children Have Learned (author unknown).

  • No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair.
  • If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
  • Never ask your three-year-old brother to hold a tomato.
  • You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
  • Reading what people write on desks can teach you a lot.
  • Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
  • Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a Tic Tac.
  • Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time.
  • School lunches stick to the wall.
  • You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

Just think of the list of great truths we could compile if we put our minds to it... not only "Great Truths About Life We Learned as Children," but "Great Truths About Life We Learned As Christians."

Part One: Who Am I?—Exodus 3-4

Most of us have something that could be called a deficit, a defect, an insufficiency, a shortcoming, a blemish, an impediment, or an imperfection. It could be a physical attribute that mars our appearance, or something we believe might cause inadequacy or failure in our lives. It's the lack of a usual or needed amount of some quality, attribute, possession, or circumstance.

I had one, and still do to a certain extent. My deficit was an acute and spasmodic red pigmentation level of the facial cortex. I'm other words, I was extremely shy, and that shyness manifested itself with a very red face. This insufficiency (flaw, blemish, imperfection) was no problem as long as I stayed out of any public speaking arena, and public speaking was the last thing I wanted to do anyway.

Made Weak to Win

Genesis 32

Little Johnny was not doing very well in math. His parents had tried everything—tutors, flash cards, "Hooked on Math," special learning centers—in short, everything they could think of. Finally, in a last ditch effort, they took Johnny down and enrolled him in the local Catholic school.

After the first day, little Johnny came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn't kiss his mother hello but went straight to his room and started studying. Books and papers were spread out all over the room, and Johnny was hard at work. His amazed mother called him down to dinner, and the minute he was done he marched back to his room without a word. In no time, he was back hitting the books as hard as before. This went on for some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what made all the difference.


Abraham Part Two: The Picture of God's Love Through Abraham

Genesis 22

A student of famous illustrator and painter Gustave Dore had just finished a painting of Jesus and handed it to him for his critique. Dore studied it, his mind searching for the right words. At last he handed it back to the student. "If you loved Him more," he said, "you would have painted Him better"—Gene Geyer, Windows of the Soul, p. 172, Zondervan Pub., 1996.

That's a great statement. A person needs to know God before he can adequately paint Him with the brush, or even with words—with a verbal picture. In our continuing study of Bible characters, we are viewing a portrait gallery containing various pictures of the character of God.

Abraham Part One: Climbing the Foothills of Mount Moriah

Genesis 12-21

In this study of Abraham, we will focus on the apex of his life—the events leading up to Genesis 22. This chapter is extremely important to us, because

  • we see evidence of why Abraham is the father of faith
  • it is very critical to our understanding of Old Testament theology and the purposes of God in sacrificing His Son on the cross. (What a picture this is!)
  • it reminds us that we all have at least one great test sometime during our life. (Do you believe that?)
I believe a study of Abraham's life can be great prep for this test, which differs for each of us. The big question is: how do we know we will be prepared for it? Or if we conclude we are not prepared, how can we prepare ourselves?

Part Four: Learning From God; Jonah and The Lord—Jonah 4

We have seen that the book of Jonah is in 4 movements: Chapter 1: Jonah and the Storm; Chapter 2: Jonah and the Fish; Chapter 3: Jonah and the City; Chapter 4: Jonah and the Lord.

Part Three: Speaking For God; Jonah and the City—Jonah 3

Having detoured many miles, Jonah finally is headed for the proper destination. The chauffeur of this unconventional method of transportation delivers him to the shoreline, and Jonah begins his journey to Nineveh.

Part Two: Praying to God; The Fish That Went Manning—Jonah 2

In Moby Dick, we read of the flight of Jonah from the commission God had given him: "With this sin of disobedience in him, Jonah still further flouts at God, by seeking to flee from Him. He thinks that a ship made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign, but only the Captains of this earth. He skulks about the wharves of Joppa, seeks a ship that’s bound for Tarshish…Miserable man! Oh! most contemptible and worthy of all scorn; with slouched hat and guilty eye, skulking from his God; prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar hastening to cross the seas.

Part One: A Whale of a Tale of Fleeing From God—Jonah 1

The book of Jonah, more than any other in Scripture, has been laughed at and called ridiculous; no book has been so battered by a sea of criticism and speculation. Some have called this book the Achilles heel of the Bible. Many claim it is unreasonable, and set forth wild theories, such as:

Part Two: The Choices of Mankind—Genesis 4:1-26

Before we get to our study, let me ask you a question:


What if God had voice mail?

We have all learned to live with voice mail as a necessary part of modern life. But what if God decided to install it?

Imagine praying and hearing,"Thank you for calling My Father's House. Please select one of the following options:

Part One: Introduction—Genesis 4

In this study we look at the world's first two children, their mom, and God. The children are an interesting and significant pair, representing the mold from which we all have come. They are the originals, and in many ways still affect and reflect all of mankind, aptly presenting the twofold division of humanity. Their names are Cain and Abel, and the choices they represent are presented to every person, even today

Part Two: Lessons in the Desert; Defeating Discouragement—1 Kings 19

In our first lesson we studied the contest between Elijah and the worshippers of Baal, and witnessed one of the crowning moments of his life. After he has embarrassed and defeated the prophets of Baal in spectacular fashion, he orders them all slaughtered. He then tells Ahab he hears approaching rain, and tells him to go get something to eat. Miraculously, God produces a heavy rainstorm out of a previously clear sky, and Elijah outran Ahab's chariot to Jezreel.

Part One: Lessons on the Mountain; Defeating Doublemindedness—1 Kings 18

Imagine with me a group of people in a small town, who desperately want to succeed in their vocations and the way they provide for their families. These people have grown up in church, but it's unclear whether they have had a genuine relationship with God. Christianity seemed to work for them when they were children (when families were poor), but they haven't translated their Christian background into their everyday working world as young adults.


Grass-Eating 101

Try to guess this verse. It's widely quoted by Christians and non-Christians alike, and seen as a universal truth by anyone who has observed the rise and fall of people. It describes a condition that always leads to destruction—to a fall. The last word of the verse, in fact, is "fall." It's often quoted in a five-word abbreviated version of the actual verse—"Pride comes before a fall."

Becoming a Basket Case

The foundation stone for discussing our subject is that God delights to use anyone: boy or girl, man or woman, who makes himself or herself available to Him. That's good news for everyone!

A Person God Could Not Use

A Person God Could Not Use

Another Look at the Lions' Den

Another Look at the Lions' Den

A Minister in the Making

A Minister in the Making

Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself Part 5

Judges 16:30-31

I would really like to meet the person who can say; "I have walked perfectly with my God, I have never failed in my understanding of God's plan, and my motives have always been completely pure." If you're here this morning, I would like to talk to you after the service. Most of us cannot say that, can we? In fact, only Jesus can. Our lives at this point are not perfect reflections of our God. We're growing and being conformed more and more to Christ's likeness each day, but only when we stand in eternity will we perfectly mirror our Lord (1 Cor. 13:12; Rom. 8:29, etc.). If that's the case, then it's going to be a common problem for all believers to live in the tension of not having our act totally together, while attempting to walk with a holy and perfect God.

Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself Part 4

Judges 16:1-30

Let's take a trip back to Greek mythology.

"In Greek mythology Achilles was the son of Peleus (Pel-ee-us), king of the Myrmidons (Mer-ma-dons), and Thetis (Thee-tis), a sea goddess. Achilles was the greatest, bravest, and most handsome warrior of the army. One of the tales about his childhood relates how Thetis (Thee-tis) held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the waters of the river Styx. Well, through the water's mythological power, Achilles became invulnerable—that is, every part except the heel by which he was held. That small portion of his body, untouched by the water, remained vulnerable. From this story we get the term "Achilles' heel," which describes our greatest point of vulnerability. It was at just this point an arrow struck the near-invincible Achilles and killed him." Charles Swindoll, Old Testament Characters, Insight for Living, 1986.

We all have our "Achilles' heels"—points of extreme vulnerability in our walk with God. For some, it's money; for others, ambition. For Samson, the focus of our series, it was sensuality. Let's return to our continuing story of Samson.

Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself Part 3

Judges 14:5-15:20

When I was living in Spokane about 23 years ago, my brother and his family came to visit us for a few days. We lived next to some woods, so the two of us, armed with high-powered slingshots, decided to get on my Honda and go into the woods for a little target practice. We stopped the motorcycle in the middle of the woods and attempted to see who was "slingshot champion of the world." As we were shooting, the biggest, blackest, and bushiest skunk I had ever seen came over a hill about 50 yards in front of us. When my brother saw him he got excited and said, "Let's go get him!" Now, my first impression was to say, "You're crazy," but I wasn't about to let Roy know I was afraid, so with faked excitement I responded, "Yeah, let's go." Like a couple of idiots, off we ran with two slingshots and some rocks. (I know how David must have felt when he faced Goliath.)

Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself Part 2

Part 2, Judges 13:6-14:3

I love this description of a grandmother, written by a third grade student.

What Is A Grandmother?

A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own. She likes other people's little girls and boys. A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with boys and they talk about fishing and stuff like that. Grandmothers don't have to do anything except be there. They're old, so they shouldn't play hard and run around. It's enough that they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and they have a lot of quarters ready. Or, if they take us for walks, they slow down past pretty things like leaves and caterpillars. They never say, "hurry up." Usually, grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes. They wear glasses and... can take their teeth and gums out. Grandmothers don't have to be smart, they only have to answer questions like, "Why isn't God married?" and "How come dogs chase cats?" Grandmothers don't talk baby talk like visitors do, 'cause it's hard to understand. And when they read to us, they don't skip pages.

"Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don't have a television, because they're the only grown-ups who have time"—quoted by Charles Swindoll, Women's Ministry Seminar, Multnomah School of the Bible, Portland, Oregon, 1984.

Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself

The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself

How the Mighty Have Fallen - Part Two

What will happen to a rebel? Not a juvenile delinquent, not a child who threatens to run away from home... but a stubborn king, a rebellious monarch who knows better but refuses to obey His God?

Solomon was such a man; he defiantly ignored the explicit instruction of the scripture and failed to pay attention to very wise council—his own. What Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1 is a very clear picture of the outcome of defiance. Listen to what this great king left for us, but failed to heed himself: These words of wisdom are spoken in Proverbs 1:23-33:

How the Mighty Have Fallen - Part One

When I see lives that are less than promising, I wonder what went wrong, and the follow-up is, "What would have happened if...?" We have the mistaken idea that if family life and education were ideal, there would be no problems, or at least small ones. Most people believe that starting right makes things right, but this is not always true. Let me explain further by looking at the life of Solomon.

Why Study Old and New Testament Characters?

An overview of why we should study Bible characters.

In this session, I want to offer an overview of why we should study Bible characters.

Some have asked, and I'm sure many have thought, "What does the life of someone who lived so long ago have to do with me today?" The cynic might even say, "The Old Testament has little to do with my life—who cares?"

This fall as Hillcrest's staff gathered for our annual retreat, we discussed this question, looking together at 1 Corinthians 10, which really begins in chapter 9, verses 24-27.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

The context here is on the race, and the potential of being disqualified from receiving the prize.

Ray Stedman has said this passage: " built around the figure of an athletic contest—a race. This was a familiar thing to these believers in Corinth. Every three years the Isthmian Games (very much like the Olympic Games we are familiar with, which were also held in Greece), were held right outside the city. If you go to Corinth, you can still see the arenas where the races were run. The starting blocks where the athletes started out the races are still embedded in the stones. Paul is using this figure, because to him, life is a race like that.

These Corinthians knew that every athlete who participated in the races had to take an oath that they had been training for 10 months, and that they had given up certain delightful foods in their diet to enable them to endure the race. They had subjected themselves to rather rigorous discipline in order to win. Paul says all that they are winning is just a fading pine wreath, but, in the race we are running, the prize, the wreath, is an imperishable one.

He sees life this way. Its aim, as Paul understood it, is that we are here to run the race of life in order to be a useful and a pleasing instrument of God, to be used whenever and wherever he wants to use us. That is Paul's objective."
Ray Stedman, Discovery Publishing, 3505 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA. 94306-3695.

Why study characters in the Old and New Testaments?

We all need models. Therefore we study the Bible: to give us examples of those who were disqualified from receiving the prize, and to see those who finished well. Example: The power of a model(for my generation, "The catch" by Willie Mays; today, the home run swings of Sosa and McGwire beating Roger Maris' record). In fact, it can be helpful even to look for biblical characters with your spiritual giftings, and use their models in particular. When it comes to the spiritual race, we need models for several reasons, all of them found in this text.