The Preamble to the Ten Commandments
The preamble to the US constitution goes like this: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” This gives the background to their Constitution and the context for the Constitution. The founders of the US had left Europe to escape persecution and they wanted to set up a society where they could be free to live and worship as they wanted and enjoy the rewards of their hard work. This means that the people in the US know how far the Constitution and affect their lives.
- The Lord has given us three great revelation in history so that we find out who God is. When he spoke to Nicodemus he told him that a person needs to be born again before he can see the Kingdom of God (John 3: 3). We also learn that “no person has seen God at any time, the Only Begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1: 18).
- Because God is Spirit and we are flesh and blood we cannot know anything about God unless He chooses to reveal himself to us. God has given us three major revelations of Himself so that we can understand Who He is and why He is interested in us. The first revelation is Creation. In this revelation God showed the whole world as much as we can know about his nature. The second revelation is the Law, in this revelation the Lord showed us His character. And the this revelation is the one referred to in John 1: 18. This was when the Lord Jesus came to the earth and He lived here to save us from our sins. Not only this, he showed us the person of God.
- When the Lord brought the His people out of the Land of Slavery, he gave them a Constitution as well. It is important for us to realise that Israel was designed, by God, to be a Constitutional monarchy (Deut 17: 14-20). Even though they would soon become a sovereign nation, they still had a role to perform in God’s plan. This role was first revealed to Abraham and we read about it in Gen 12: 3 “In you will all the families of the earth be blessed.”
- Israel’s entire responsibility was tied up in blessing all the families of the earth. They were sent to punish the Caananite nations for their sin and to replace them in their fertile land so that they could lift up the Lord’s Name and through that show people how good God is then these people would be drawn to God themselves (compare John 12: 32). However, if Israel wasn’t living up to the high standards that would draw all their neighbours to God then they lost their reason for living in the Land.
- When God brought Israel out of the land of slavery he did so to complete his purposes for Israel and for the rest of the world as well. However, the Israelis weren’t really sure what was happening to them because they were a nation of slaves. They were used to being told what to do and where to go. They didn’t really know how to make decisions because all their decision had been made for them. Each of the Israelis who had escaped from slavery in Egypt had been born as a slave but now the Lord was telling them how they should live.
- The first question that they would ask is: “Who does God think He is to tell us what we should and should not do?” Well God put this Law into context and told then who he was. In fact, the entire Bible, up to this point, is introducing God to Israel and though them all the families of the earth. God wanted Israel to understand Who he is and what He can do for Israel and all the families of the earth.
- They learnt that God made the earth and everything in it. They also learnt that God made the earth for a special purpose. God made the earth for us to possess. Even though we weren’t able to make anything without his help and he didn’t ask us for advice when he made the earth, he still made if for us to own.
- God showed how the people on the earth had rejected his authority and gave their loyalty to many other things that were inferior to God. As things went by the people on the earth drew themselves further and further away from God and the benefits of his love. By rights, God should have rejected everyone on the earth and given them the fruit of their choice. In spite of this, God chose to love the people on the earth and to give us a chance to come back to his love.
- Now Israel were a free nation and they were ready to be part of God’s purpose for the earth. They had to be given their Constitution so that they would now how they could live in the special Land that God had set aside for them.
- The slaves really didn’t have any chance of freedom. The Egyptians were not interested in letting their slaves go. Their entire lifestyle depended on having slave to do their work and make their security so that they could life at ease. Israel was an entire nation of slave who were dedicated to serving the Egyptians. However the Lord intervened.
- They saw everything that God had done for them during the process of their redemption from slavery. Firstly Moses came and asked Pharaoh to let the people go and he refused then they saw Pharaoh’s rebellious attitude broken under the plagues. Next they saw the angel come to kill the firstborn of Egypt but he passed over the homes that were protected by the blood. This was an amazing miracle; usually plagues are indiscriminate but in this case the angel of death came with surgical precision. Everyone who had taken the protection of the lamb’s blood had their firstborn saved but everyone else lost their firstborn.
- After Israel escaped from slavery they were caught in an impossible trap but the Lord saved them by taking them through the sea on dry land and drowning the Egyptian army when they tried to follow.
- When the Lord told Israel that he was the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery, He is telling them Who He is and Why he can tell them what to do. In God’s Divine logic there is no other choice than to obey Him, anything else is sin.
What about the Christian? We know that we are no longer under the Law but that we are under grace. If there is no law for us to obey then what is our context or do we have a context at all? If we search the NT we can see that there is preamble and it is written in various forms. The gospel of Mark begins with the statement, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This makes a good preamble. The statement “the gospel of Jesus Christ” is written, “the gospel about Jesus Christ” in the NIV but this is wrong. The intent of this statement is to tell us that the gospel is defined by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Everything about the gospel must be seen in the context of His sinless life and substitutionary sacrifice. Another part of the preamble is found in John 3: 16. The Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth in the context of God’s love that gives when there can be any hope of a proper return for that gift. More of the preamble can be found in the Great Commission. If a preamble gives us a statement of intent then what does the preamble to Christian constitution tell us? This constitution that has no words.
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ lay down his life so that we might be saved from the eternal torments of hell. His intent was that we should be like him and continue the work that he began when he was alive as a man on the earth. He avoided earthly displays of power so that people would be drawn to him and not to the other things that they could get by being with him. If we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ then our aim is to fill our minds with thought of him of that we can be like him.