Ruminate on the Word (Exodus 20:1-17), turning it over in your heart and mind. What does the word or phrase you have chosen mean to you today?
As I reread this well-known passage from Exodus and reflect more closely on the reading, my attention is drawn to the phrase “I am the Lord your God, who brought you… out of the house of slavery.”
Yesterday, I reflected on the fact that human beings have a tendency to be rebellious. It can be easy for us to look at the Ten Commandments as being ten difficult burdens imposed on us by God. How are we supposed to faithfully observe all of these things anyway?
From the very beginning of the passage, God reminds us who God is. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Not only is God sovereign over all, God was the one who freed the people of Israel from the harsh hands of the Egyptians and gave them true freedom. As these mighty deeds of liberation are recalled by God, it becomes clear that God intends to do the same by the giving of the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments can serve as a guide for finding true freedom, but that doesn’t mean the process will be easy. In fact, it wasn’t easy for Israel to accept the freedom God gave them. Later on in Numbers 14:4, the Israelites become frustrated that their freedom wasn’t what the expected “So they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.’” Even in their freedom, they wanted to return to Egypt where life was seemingly easier.
We can go through life ignoring the Ten Commandments, under the impression that life will be easier if we’re able to follow our own whims. But, this is not true freedom. In fact, we would be in the same bondage that Israel felt in Egypt. Perhaps as we continue on the Lenten journey, we can reflect on the Commandments that we struggle with the most. What appears to bring freedom? Where am I actually enslaved? If we seriously come face to face with our struggles, we can begin to give God the permission to set us free.
-Chase M. Becker
©Ten Commandments, Donald Jackson 2003 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.