The 10 Statements or Commitments
Looking at the so called 10 commandments, we could really call them statements, if we correctly look at the interpretations from Hebrew and Greek. They are actually known as the Decalogue or “10 words.’ And calling them statements is appropriate, for if we are to have free will, then, they need to be Statements, not Commandments.
And, like the Lord’s Prayer from last week, the basic principles of these statements are found in almost every religious or spiritual tradition.
The statements have obvious literal meanings, and these are all valid. But beyond that there is a deeper, metaphysical meaning. When we look at the Bible from a metaphysical viewpoint, it is a story of our soul’s evolution. The events that happen are, in effect, events of our soul’s discovery of who we truly are.
Metaphysically, the name Moses means drawing out and Egypt means the darkness of ignorance…so we are coming out of the darkness of a consciousness limited to material senses and awakening to the Truth via the Ten Statements. An important point to consider is that Egypt was at one time a life saver, the Israelites went there during severe famine. But it became a place of oppressive confinement. Coping strategies that worked at one time may no longer work at different points in our spiritual growth, an important point to remember.
And, these Statements are carved in stone-unchangeable; thus, they would be preserved intact, not destructible as a paper item may be.
So let’s look at each statement:
1) I am the LORD your God, you shall have no other gods before me.
This is the most basic principle we believe; there is a God and this God is the source and creator of everything-Is everything. This God is in and through everything and is indestructible, all-powerful and absolute. This God is the inspiration within our continuous onward and upward movement toward our increasingly greater good.
And as I mentioned in an earlier lesson, it doesn’t matter what name we use to identify God. The name could be Spirit, Goddess, Buddha, Divine Universe…these are all names for the same energy. I just use God because it is understandable for most.
God is the I AM THAT I AM, and we are I Am, and we make our own destiny and our own fate by the things which we attach to that I Am.
To worship other divinities would mean that we reject the imperative character of the first statement. This means not only other so called Gods, but our jobs, material possessions or relationships should not come before our Spirituality. We sometimes confuse the channels of our good with the source of our good. AND, channels change! Some we must let go, so others may come to us.
We also acknowledge that there can be no other power equal to or above God. So, there is no devil over powering us to err. We must recognize our physical illnesses and pains as stepping stones for our growth, not as something caused by a so called devil.
Another way to look at this is asking ourselves “what comes into our minds when we think of God?” This is what is most important to us. And where did this God-thought come from? From our own thinking or from our domestication?
So this ‘statement’ could be a commitment – I make a commitment to Love.
2) You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Most of the tribal peoples worshipped idols and images made of silver, gold, wood and stone. They were human or animal deities. Or the sun, moon and stars. And when they traveled, they took their God’s with them, in smaller versions of their specific “God,” kind of like pocket-Gods.
And they believed in a 3 tiered universe – the heavens, the earth, and the waters, according to the creation story. Thus, we are ‘commanded’ to not make any idols from anything in the universe.
God is the only Presence and Power. To attribute power to anything other than God is idolatry. Graven image means things we idealize; property, concepts, or people. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with worldly possessions since God is in and through everything. It does mean that God is Spirit and Spirit is all there is. It is the Spirit within that gives it value.
Money, fame, and pleasure are popular gods in today’s world. But we give power in other ways, too. Our ‘internal dialogue’ is the biggest graven image we have. It is like a train of thought, delivering us to a station labeled ‘illness,’ or ‘loneliness,’ or poverty.’ Instead, we could be riding the train to ‘joy,’ and ‘love,’ and ‘peace.’
Martin Luther said, “Whatever your soul clings and relies upon, that is your god.”
So, what is your “pocket-God?”
The Bible uses the word “jealous” in the sense that if you give power to anything but God, you have lost God altogether. It really could have been translated as zealous or impassioned. Though if we look at it this way, jealous may fit – jealous can be defined as vigilant, so God is vigilant in guarding us.
As for “punishing children for the iniquity of parents,” in the symbology of the Bible, you are a parent, and your children are your works. We often pass on false beliefs, and those beliefs can go into the third and fourth generation, if not checked.
There’s the story of a newlywed couple making a pot roast. As the wife was preparing the meal, she removed each end of the roast and placed in the pan. The husband ask why she did that and the wife explained that was how she was taught. He insisted that it was incorrect, why would they do that? So, they choose to call the mother of the wife to get an explanation. She just said that was how she was taught, so they called the grandmother.
The grandmother laughed when she heard about the ‘discussion’ and explained that the reason the ends were removed from the roast was not because of any special secret recipe, it was because the pot was too small for the roast! Passed on from mother to daughter for generations!
Think of what other customs have been passed to each generation and are they still applicable?
The commitment for this Statement – I make a commitment to Wholeness.
3) You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
To take something in vain suggests futility, without success. This cannot be associated with the name of God…name means Nature-the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing; its essence.
You cannot take the name of God [your conviction concerning God] in vain. Whatever your idea of God is, whatever idea you really believe in, that is what will be expressed in your life. The idea behind our belief is what you are saying when you say God’s name. That is why we have different names that are used to try to express what God means to us…Goddess, Divine, Sacred, Universe, Buddha…etc. We use what works for us.
This commandment enjoins us to show the utmost respect and reverence for God and the uses we make of the name. In other terms, we must show reverence not only in our worship but also in our language because a verbal expression is an expression of our true belief. When we connect God’s name with a negative condition, we are using in in vain, negative is not a part of God, and it’s not part of us.
And, what we say, echo’s back to us. Whatever we place after I AM, is what we are saying about our God and ourselves. Keep it positive. Our words are causal—the first part of cause and effect.
This commitment is: I make a commitment to Positive Expression.
4) Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
This statement emphasizes the sacredness of the individual; it reminds us that the Sabbath was made for us; it applies to everyone: family, slaves, foreign residents, even to animals! We get caught up in our busy lives of doing and getting. The seven days of creation are the time that it takes to create a new condition in your life.
In any kind of mental work that you do, you must have a Sabbath. Build up the new consciousness—and then, let it alone. We must set aside a time for God in accordance with our personal need. The word Sabbath means rest; Keep a restful state devoted to goodness. When we rest our minds and remain in communion with God, our outer life reflects this peace and barriers lower that existed between our spiritual and secular lives.
Even though the Sabbath was traditionally from Friday sunset to sunset on Saturday and was gradually changed to Sunday, it is really a state of consciousness. It’s a time of freedom to be who we truly are. Freedom is living in alignment with spiritual law. Checking in with ourselves –Am I loving, moving, thinking, doing, and being in the flow that I want to be in”
It’s a time of letting go and allowing God to work through you. It’s a time of human being, not doing.
I make a commitment to Let Go.
5) Honor your father and your mother
Of course we are to honor our earthly parents. Near easterners considered it a sacred duty to care for their parents and to be guided by them. In Biblical times, one who cursed their parents were put to death.
This statement encourages us to make peace with our family of origin. We cannot move deeper into our own personal and spiritual growth until we have made this peace. Make the choice to heal and forgive. I am reminded that my parents did the best they could at the time with the knowledge and awareness that they had. We can’t change the past but we can change how we deal with it.
This statement also gives us practical instruction in prayer. Our real father and mother is God. We are to hold our heavenly parents in reverence. To get activity, to manifest, we must have both masculine and feminine aspects, both knowledge and feeling, giving and receiving. To honor our spiritual Father/Mother is to recognize God as the only Power, the only Presence, the only Cause.
Heaven is within us, and we experience It to the degree that we become conscious of It. We must be in balance, we must love both aspects of ourselves; masculine and feminine which is our true nature. We must love and honor them equally in order to remain balanced and happy.
And we must honor and accept the Christ within each of us.
I make a commitment to Thinking and Feeling.
6) You shall not kill.
Originally, this was meant to keep members of the same tribe, race or religion from murdering each other. You can see how that would be important travelling over the desert for 40 years! When someone did kill another accidently, there were cities of refuge where they could go to avoid being put to death as punishment.
We have no right to deprive anyone of life. When we hold negative, limited, life-killing thoughts continuously, a killing-vibration emanates from our hearts and mind. Love is the cure for this vibration. You can understand now why forgiveness is so very important.
God has imbued our lives with personality, character, values, and physical attributes. For another to try to take that life – in any manner- would be to dishonor the God-essence of that individual. This includes maligning a person’s character, name, nature, or physical being. Remember-what we do to someone else we do to ourselves. But even more, what we to ourselves or someone else, we do to God.
Another way to promote life is to share your gifts – time, talent, treasure-must be kept in circulation or they become stagnant. Stagnation is a form of death. You have heard the adage, “Use it or you lose it.” It applies here. To give is to receive.
I make a commitment to Life.
7) You shall not commit adultery.
The moral nature of this statement is obvious. Adherence to it is tantamount to personal purity. “Respect the integrity of the family institution.” A person who commits adultery is showing utter disrespect for the basic law of marriage.
To adulterate means to corrupt or make impure with the addition of foreign or inferior substances. We are created in the image and likeness of God, of perfection. Adding anything contrary to that, any impure or negative thoughts or beliefs, is adultery. So this statement is about raising our thoughts to the level of God/Self-realization. And this refers to ourselves as well as others. Whenever we see ourselves or others as less than the Christ within, we err with this Statement. Whenever we judge others or ourselves. This is error thinking.
Look to your integrity as the opposite of adultery. Integrity is what keeps us on the soul journey.
I commit myself to Integrity.
8) You shall not steal.
This is another statement on how we should treat others. It is integral to the Golden Rule. “You must respect the right of people to enjoy what belongs to them.”
Stealing is trying to get something for which we do not have the consciousness, and are therefore not spiritually entitled to. You cannot keep anything for which you do not have the consciousness to have. Really think about what that means.
We can take this a step further to encompass the theft of freedom from individuals by dictators and taking away free will by strong-willed people.
Many a doting mother robs her children of their right to make decisions and to live their own lives.
We steal through shoddy workmanship, by falsifying information, by stretching lunch breaks, padding expense accounts, boasting, bragging, by taking credit for something we didn’t do, we steal other people’s time when we are late for appointments and meetings.
We steal another’ effort when we don’t appreciate them, and our selves when we don’t appreciate what we have accomplished.
This is the law of compensation, we reap what we sow. Emerson said, “He who robs another, robs himself first. He or she makes a break in their own integrity or wholeness at the expense of one’s ultimate good.”
And remember, no one can keep your good from you; the law of Being allows that whatever comes to you, whatever happens to you, and whatever surrounds you is in accordance with your consciousness.
I make a commitment to Consciousness.
9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
There is an ancient story about a ruler who sent his servants out, one to find the greatest or most creative thing that humanity has ever known and the other to find the worst or most destructive thing that humanity has ever known. They both returned with the very same thing…can you guess what it was?
The human tongue.
We use the power of speech to communicate, but it can lock us into prisons of misunderstanding. We use it to fill up space so we don’t have to be truly intimate or to really look at ourselves. And lack of speech isolates us.
But speech can be used to heal and comfort too.
Obviously, “We must respect truth in human relations,” and not tell untruths about anyone.
This may be the most important of all the statements, if properly understood. The real or fundamental meaning is that you always express what you are. You cannot be one thing and express another.
We believe we create with words, words have power. And we believe we are all One. Therefore, what I say about another will come back to me.
To witness means understanding with intelligence and wisdom; true knowing. Bearing false witness is gossiping and listening to gossip. We must learn to oppose ideas, not people. We have a responsibility for what we say. Ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it needful?
You’ve probably heard the story of a well-respected man who found himself a victim of gossip and rumors in his village. His reputation was completely ruined. He finally confronted the person responsible for the rumors, who apologized profusely, admitting he was wrong and asked what he could do to make things right. The man who was the target of the rumors took his accuser to a second story bedroom, picked up a feather pillow, slit it open and shook all the feathers out the window. AS the breeze took the feathers away, he turned to his accuser and said, now go pick up all the feathers. The guilty man cried that it was impossible. And the man who was wronged said, It is just as impossible to pick up your words.
We have a choice whether to toss feathers of gossip and negativity or feathers of love and goodness.
We must always express what we truly are. We cannot be one thing and express another. We cannot continuously lie, to ‘bear false witness’ about another because their true colors will become apparent and so will ours.
I make a commitment to Honesty.
10) You shall not covet ….anything that belongs to your neighbor.
To covet means metaphysically to seek fulfillment from an outside source. To covet implies a sense of lack. It means to plan to take or do a certain thing; an intention. It is a form of adultery or idolatry because you are giving power to something other than God, or denying God as Source.
This is a rule of personal ethics which flows from the principle which might have been worded as “You must find happiness within the confines of the human gifts which were allotted to you.” We cannot truly desire anything that does not already exist for us. The desire causes the existence of the thought, idea, answer, etc.
The word desire comes from de meaning of and sire meaning father, so we desire God. We have a yearning inside to awaken the connection to God, our Christ Presence.
The keys to this commandment or statement or commitment are appreciate yourself, admire what others have reminding yourself that you have the same source, and acknowledge God’s abundance-have gratitude!
I make a commitment to Appreciation.
The 10 statements are simple codes of conduct with deeper meaning for us to discover the implications to our state of consciousness. It takes time to make conscious changes. We vacillate back and forth between our old lives and our new ones, just as the Israelites did, but we must remember that life is a spiral, and as we rise we are given opportunities to grow and heal in increasingly deeper levels. We have guidance for this journey, and your God is always with you.
In conclusion, we are reminded that there are only 2 commandments: those given by Jesus when asked what was the greatest commandment; He said;” You shall 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 onto it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is from this teaching that we learn Love is the key to Life.