7 Mar 2021. 3rd Sunday Lent. Cycle B-2021. Exodus 20:1-17 + 1Corinthians 1:22-25 + John 2:13-25
The Ten Commandments: I am the Lord, your God… You shall not have other gods beside me… You shall not invoke the name of the Lord, your God in vain… Remember the sabbath day–keep it holy… Honor your father and your mother… You shall not kill… You shall not commit adultery… You shall not steal… You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor… You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; your neighbor’s wife… You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor (Exodus 20:1-17; cf. Deuteronomy 5:6-21).
The Ten Commandments is the universal fundamental law of the world. Be it Judeo-Christian, Islamic, pagan, or atheistic, all governments derive their constitution from it.
No one can claim ignorance of the Ten Commandments. Any one may defy it, but no one can deny it, because the Lawmaker is all wise to plant it in the mind of every one, and to write it in the heart of every one (cf. Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 10:16).
In a constitutional government, the constitution is the foundation of the laws of that land. The wise framers of a constitution, admittedly all imperfect humans, provide it with an Amendment Clause. This Amendment Clause regulates the manner by which an imperfect constitution is amended whenever the need arises.
In this so-called Age of Enlightenment, the world now finds the Ten Commandments code to be too restrictive to its freed lifestyle. Thinking like wiser than the Wise Lawgiver of this code, the enlightened criticizes His Ten Commandments to have worked well to the gullible ignorant past, but not to the skeptical intelligent present (cf. 1Corinthians 1:21). Accordingly, to be relevant to the present, the Commandment needs amending. Like in any other fundamental law, the enlightened seeks a Commandment Amendment Clause.
A constitution is the work of human who may be wise, but, by nature, is imperfect. An imperfect lawmaker can frame only an imperfect human law; hence, human law needs periodic amendment to guide a changing humanity.
The Ten Commandments, on the other hand, is the Word of the Eternal God who, by nature, is all-wise and perfect. The Perfect Lawgiver, unlike imperfect man, does not speak falsely, nor commits mistake. He regrets neither His Word, nor His acts (cf. Numbers 23:19). This Word of God, thus, fits to be the Moral Law to guide a not-so-wise world (cf. 1Corinthians 1:21).
“Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Thy faithfulness endures to all generations; Thou hast established the earth, and it stands fast. By Thy appointment they stand this day; for all things are Thy servants“ (Psalm 119:89-91 RSVCE).
Like the Natural Law that God promulgated to set physics, chemistry, biology, and astronomy on the right course, God promulgated the Moral Law to keep humanity on the right course. Deviation from either the Natural Law or the Moral Law leads to uncertainty, disorder, instability, collision, and collapse (cf. Jeremiah 33:25).
His Word, as a Moral Law, is an enduring perfect Commandment because His teaching is forever true, and His justice is forever right (cf. Psalm 119:142, 160, emphasis mine). This perfect Commandment, therefore, is unalterable, and needs no amendment.
The world is wise enough to avoid altering physical and mathematical constants, like pi, Pythagorean identity, gravity, and the speed of light. It knows too well that it is futile to modify the qualities of time, regardless of how much it quantifies it. Rather than seeing constants as blockade to movement, the world, utilizes constants as guideposts to studying movement.
God’s Commandment is also a constant, a logical constant, to direct an error-prone human wisdom. Although ever changing, man needs to live along an unchanging constant of moral law, just as it needs to live along the fixed constants of natural law.
God promulgated the Ten Commandments to be the guiderail through which He leads this world from earthly life to eternal life. Even as the world gets wiser and stronger, the usefulness of the Ten Commandments never wears out from generation to generation, nor does its relevance ever diminishes from age to age. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1Corinthians 1:25).
“Yes, the people is grass! The grass withers, the flower wilts, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). “Until all is accomplished…” (Matthew 5:18 RSVCE), “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the Law to become void” (Lk 16:17).
Rather than demanding an Amendment Clause to the Ten Commandments, the world would profit more to accept it as a constant guidepost set by God to lead a more orderly and more fruitful life.
O Wise and Just Lawgiver, “Though distress and anguish come upon me, your Commandments are my delight” (Psalm 119:143). VSS
Picture credit: Moses and Ten Commandments by reddit.com. Judge of the Court by gograph.com