Below is a journal response for my Old Testament Theology of Community Class at Princeton Seminary.
I used this book by Patrick D. Miller: http://www.wjkbooks.com/Products/0664230555/the-ten-commandments.aspx
I highly recommend that book if you are interested in the 10 Commandments.
Martin Luther states, on page 19 of Miller, about the first commandment states that: “To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one [god] with your whole heart.” Also Deuteronomy 6:5 states: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. So the first thing God calls is our obedience to God as our only god that we look to. Furthermore, God wants us to love and follow God with our whole self; we are to give total devotion to God. Miller states that “the plural “other gods” should not be ignored. It is not simply the danger of replacing the God we have with another god. …The issue is not simply replacing the God you have with another one but being attracted by and succumbing to multiple claims on your obedience.” What this commandment and quote is getting at is that to have other gods other than God is that we put our devotion and obedience to that god over the one true God. This is why God is jealous in the bible is that the people have devotion to other gods or idols. The 10 commandments in general are all absolute law. So what that means is that God wants our utter obedience to God. Hence, obedience to God is what God wants from all of us. God wants “every part of you, everything you have and are”. This is what Jesus is getting at when he says in the New Testament, take up your cross and follow me. Jesus wants our total obedience. So take your cross and follow me is also an expansion on the first commandment and on Deut. 6:5. Furthermore, what the author of Deuteronomy means by chapter 6, verse five, is “with your whole heart, meaning with an undivided loyalty”. God wants our utter loyalty only to God’s self. Lent is a time where the Church has 40 days to contemplate what it means to give our full obedience to God and to take up our cross and follow. Lent is a time of self-examination. Hence, Lent is a good time to examine your relationship with God; it is a good time to analyze where you stand on the first three commandments.
Below is a journal for my God in the OT class.
I will be reflecting on the Ten Commandments. I will be using Understanding the Old Testament edition five. According to Anderson “Originally, all Ten Commandments were probably terse, absolute demands of the apodictic type.” Furthermore, Anderson states: “Absolute law seems more characteristically Israelite in that it expresses unconditional demands of the covenant.” What God is wanting from God’s people in the first three commandments is utter and complete obedience and devotion only to God and no other gods. You shall have no other gods before me basically means that God wants our obedience to God alone. Therefore Deut. 6:5 is an expansion on this. And Jesus in the New Testament expands on this even future. Jesus also demanded complete obedience when he commanded for people to leave their old lives behind and take up your cross and follow me. What it means to follow God and Jesus (the Trinity) is that our devotion is only to God. We are to only listen to and follow what God commands of us and do it. God is a God that wants a relationship with “his” people. So God is always seeking obedience throughout scripture from “his” people to follow “him”. And this carries on in the New Testament, like I mentioned. Hence, “The Decalogue stakes out “the basic conditions for inclusion in the [covenant] community”.” Anderson states that “In later parts of the [Torah], the commandments were reduced to two, stated in positive form” and those two commandments are from Deut. 6:5. In Matthew 22, Jesus says “‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” Hence, even Jesus sees Deut. 6:5 as the most important of the commandments of God because on those “hang all the law and the prophets.”