On the Plains of Moab Blog
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October 17, 2016, 8:51 AM

The Next Table

I appreciate Carolyn Poteet stepping into the pulpit yesterday and preaching in my stead. I’m looking forward to the word that Phil Thrash has in store for us this upcoming Lord’s Day. All in all, this has been a good Sabbath of reading and hanging out at home.


In the coming week, I’ll be turning my attention to the remaining six commandments in the Ten Commandments. We have just finished the so-called “First Table” of the commandments. Question 98 of the Larger Catechism reminds us of the historic arrangements of the commandments: “Where is the moral law summarized? A. The moral law is summarized in the ten commandments… The first four commandments establish our obligations to God and the remaining six our obligations to human beings.” The first four fleshing out what it means to love the Lord our God with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength. The final six, in the words of Question 122, “to love your neighbor as yourself and to do to others what you would have them do to you.”


The Fifth having to do with our relationship with our parents and all authority.


The Sixth with the value of life.


The Seventh with sexuality. (I anticipate this will be the hardest sermon to preach, largely because the way of the world has so thoroughly entangled our hearts on this matter, making darkness seem bright. Indeed, as Screwtape might say, “All things sex. ‘Tis one of the finest weapons our Father Below ever turned against the Enemy.”)


The Eighth, stealing.


The Ninth, lying.


And the Tenth, covering envy.


Is “Second Table” of the Law looks at our relationships with our neighbor; but of course, it all comes back to love of God. If you take any of these commandments lightly, if you are a habitual offender here, without remorse, without repentance, without a desire for holiness, you do not love God.


Seeing the commandments as two tables is a good way to parse the commandments, even though I believe “Two Tables” refer to the ancient treaty practice of cutting two copies of the same document: One for the people and one for the King – both copies being placed in the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and decrees; and the will of the people to cherish this Law.


On October 30th, we will resume this series on the commandments.

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