10th day: The Twelve Days of Christmas Devotion

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . ten lords a-leaping.

This is probably the easiest gift to understand. As lords were judges and in charge of the law, this code for the Ten Commandments was fairly straightforward to Christians. While the 10 commandments are indeed “law” because they tell us what to do, they are also Gospel-motivated because like the 9 virtues mentioned yesterday, they show the things which a Christian desires to do out of love for God.

Perhaps you learned how the 10 commandments can be divided into 2 sections.

Commandments 1-3 talk about and guide our relationship with God. The First Commandment teaches us about setting our priorities and making sure that God always has first place in our lives in our love and trust. The Second Commandment teaches us about the use of our speech and how God’s name should be used in our speech. We are not to use God’s name to curse, swear or lie. Instead, every word of our speech is to honor God and his name. The Third Commandment reminds us of the importance which the Word of God is to have in our lives. We are to regularly study it to help keep our faith strong and grow it. We are to hear it (worship) so we are reminded of what all God’s Word says to us. And we are to respect it, giving it the most important place in our lives as a reflection of our love for God.

Commandments 4-10 talk about and guide our relationships with one another. The Fourth Commandment remind us of the respect and honor we owe those who are God’s representatives in all areas of our lives – church, family (parents) and society (government and law enforcement). The Fifth Commandment reminds us of the high value we are to place on life – all life: unborn, young, old and in every situation of life. We are reminded that God is the author of life and only he or his representatives in the government can end it. The Sixth Commandment teaches us to honor the gift of sexuality which God has given to those who are married and how we are to remain pure in our thoughts, words and actions. I think we would all agree that the temptations to break this commandment are rampant in our world today. The Seventh Commandment guides us in our use of possessions – all the gifts which God has given to us and to others. Part of this is being content with what we have and not working to get or taking what others have that we might desire. The Eighth Commandment also teaches us how to use our speech as we use it toward and about other people. Just because something is true does not mean we have to share it if it is not going to speak well of someone else. Volumes could be written on this commandment because of the way in which people freely speak the worst about others instead of the best and see nothing wrong with it. The Ninth & Tenth Commandments together also guide how we view the blessings which God has given to others. These two commandments really teach contentment with what we have instead of looking over the fence and having the sinful desire to have what others have.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the 10 Commandments to guide me every day to live a life which pleases you and gives honor to you in all I think, say and do! Amen.


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