The Ten Commandments

Today’s Reading:  Deuteronomy 5:1-22

Earlier in my career, I got to lead the design and implementation of a few enterprise programs that enabled my employer to comply with different laws and regulations.  Every program was a little different, as each had its own unique set of challenges.  But all of them eventually led us to the same question – “How much is enough?”  Our business partners who were responsible for executing the programs always asked more detail.  They wanted a checklist that told them exactly what to do. That way, they always had an answer for every circumstance and were less likely to make a wrong decision.  From an enterprise view, however, the law of diminishing marginal returns usually applied.  While enough rigor to produce compliant outcomes was a must, we didn’t need to measure and monitor every little thing in order to drive the right behavior.

Today’s scripture in Deuteronomy 5 is the Ten Commandments.  Verse 22 of this passage caused me to reflect on the question – “How much is enough?”

These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me (Deuteronomy 5:22).

Did you catch the end of the first sentence?  “And he added nothing more” tells us that God concluded ten commandments were enough to drive the right behavior.  We have five commandments about how we relate to God and five commandments about how we relate to other people.

In Matthew 22, Jesus affirmed that loving God and loving other people were [are] the key principles of God’s plan for our lives.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-49).

If Jesus is truly the Lord of our lives, ten commandments are enough to give us the guidance we need.