We often think of the Decalogue as a list of rules or regulations to restrict behavior. In legalistic circles this is exactly what they are and are often taken to extremes. Do's and don'ts, if you will. I was meditating today about the ten commandments and how much resistance to them there is from many directions. And ,you know, I am resistant to them as well as just a list of "what to do and not to do or else."
In our hyper individualistic western culture, we are highly sensitive to anyone telling us what to do or how to do it. We create our own truths based around our own experiences and are often self-centered. It is amazing what the law creates in us. It brings about rebellion. Paul speaks clearly about this over and over again in the epistles. Rebellion is the core of our nature.
When I read Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5, my immediate reaction is not positive due to my own rebellious and selfish nature.But as I look deeper, what I really see is relationship. Jesus said in Matthew 22 that love of God and love of your neighbor are the greatest commandments. He goes on to say that on these two rest the entire law and the prophets. The commandments are about RELATIONSHIP to God and to one another. When we think of others as more important than ourselves (Ephesians 2) and recognize God as our loving Maker (who "don't make no junk" if you know what I mean..) with the right and perfect nature to guide us, the commandments become a joy. Born out of love, motivated out of selflessness, we were given these words as a foundation to have a most blessed life.