The Bookends of the Commandments

“You shall have no other gods before me… You shall not covet your neighbor’s …” Exodus 20:3, 17 ESV

Francis Schaefer in his book True Spirituality, claims that the bookends of the Ten Commandments deal with gratitude toward God in the first, and toward others in the last.

Jesus said the whole law and the prophets are hung between loving God and others (Luke 10). If we are ungrateful to God we will put things before Him. If we are ungrateful toward neighbors (others) we will sin against them.

To break any of the 8 commands in between the first two are a sin against either the first or the last command, which is why breaking part of the law is to offend the whole law (James 2:10).

Gratitude changes everything. If I am truly thankful for God I won’t place anything in front of Him. If I am grateful for my fellowman I won’t want what he has that I haven’t been given.

This is why Paul repeatedly said to “Rejoice!” in his letters to the churches. Only God can give us a true spirit of gratitude. Just ask Him and wait on Him because it doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re into God, you’re into waiting, but here’s the good news in Isaiah 40:31 – “But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles; they will run, and not grow weary; they will walk, and not faint.”

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