Reasons For the 6th Commandment
As I watched the candle light vigil in Sutherland Springs, heard Frank Pomeroy, the First Baptist pastor, share what a special daughter Annabelle was, and heard the on the scene reporters give the early reports that even a five-year-old was brutally gunned down, the tears came. If we ever questioned why the Lord thundered from Sinai, “Thou shalt not murder,” the massacre in Sutherland Springs cries the answer.
Murder is evil because it blatantly disregards that each of the 26 killed were uniquely made in God’s image (Gen. 9:6). Each of the 20 injured have unique lives to live, a powerful proof of God’s life-giving love. And God hates the pain, the loss, the devastation that Devin Patrick Kelley generated in only minutes by blatantly disregarding the 6thcommandment.
Before his own death Moses preached again to his people how the Ten Commandments express the core of God’s moral standards. Moses emphasized that God’s Law was a gift and in Deuteronomy 4:6 he stressed that when other nations saw them obeying God’s instructions, they would recognize the value of their Law. Moses writes, “Keep them and do them because this is your wisdom and your discerning insight in the eyes of all the other people. When they hear all these statutes, they will say, ‘Surely, this is a wise and discerning people, this is a great nation.”
Tragically, by the 8thcentury Hosea had to sound the alarm. God’s people had turned against their sacred covenant—the Sinai vow reaffirmed on the plains of Moab before they entered the Promised Land.
“Put the shofar horn to your lips!
An eagle is over the House of the Lord because they have
transgressed against my covenant. They have criminally broken my Torah.
Israel cries out to me, ‘My God, we know you intimately!’
But Israel has rejected the good.
The enemy will pursue them.” Hosea 8:1-3
When it comes to hunting, few can match the aerial assault of the powerful eagle and its talons. Hosea warns that God is the eagle and his prey has become his own people because they have turned away from what is good, his commands, like the 6thcommandment. They piously mouth the words, “We are close to God.” But their flagrant disobedience, including the hardened execution of murder, proves that they might not call themselves atheists, like the shooter in Sutherland Springs, but they’re acting like one.
LORD, powerfully wrap your comforting arms around the families of all those who have lost their lives to violent acts. May they find solace in you as they work through their grief. Thanks that one day you will answer our prayer, “Deliver us from evil.”
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