Remember the Lawgiver

Moses and the Ten Commandments

After delivering the Israelites from Pharaoh and their bondage in Egypt, God gave them the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). These commandments served as a foundation for the rest of the law.

Yet in a sense, this foundation also had a foundation. The Ten Commandments provided the basis for the law, but the only reason the law mattered was because of the one who gave the law. So who was the lawgiver? That was God. They needed to understand this in order to appreciate the importance of the laws that were given. They were reminded of this in the “preface” to the Ten Commandments:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2).

By delivering them from their bondage in Egypt, God showed His power over the world, His superiority over man-made “gods” and human rulers, and His care for His people.

Because God is who He is, they were to obey the commandments He was giving to them. The same is true for us today. There are many laws and rules presented to us in every area of life. However, before we decide whether we will obey these various laws or not, we need to remember the lawgiver.

The Scriptures teach that we are to submit to those in authority. These include:

  • Parents – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).
  • Civil authorities – “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right” (1 Peter 2:13-14).
  • Elders in the church – “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
  • Even our brethren – “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Even though this is not an example of one with authority over us, this is an example of submission on our part.

However, all such submission is conditional. In other words, just because someone in authority attempts to bind some law upon us, that does not always mean we are to submit to that law.

  • We are to obey parents “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1). Therefore, if a parent is instructing his/her child to do something wrong, and the child is old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong, the child is under no obligation to submit to such an instruction.
  • When presented with a law from civil authorities that contradicts God’s law, we must have the attitude of the apostles: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). God’s law trumps the laws of man at any level of government (local, state, federal, etc.).
  • We are to oppose elders or leaders in the church who are in opposition to God. Paul told Timothy, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning” (1 Timothy 5:19-20). John wrote about the need to confront Diotrephes for his attempt to control the church.
  • We are not to be subject to man-made rules in religion. When some tried to compel Titus to be circumcised, Paul opposed them swiftly and decisively (Galatians 2:3-5). He warned the brethren in Colossae against submitting to “the commandments and teachings of men” (Colossians 2:20-23).

Ultimately, we submit to the Lord. We submit to other authorities – parents, civil rulers, elders, and brethren – to the degree that God allows us to submit to them. We are to put the Lord first.

So remember the lawgiver. God is over all and has proven His love for us. Therefore, let us obey Him and not put anyone over Him in regard to our allegiance and obedience.

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  1. Thank you for this lesson i am making printed copys and sends them to men to show them how elders and leaders in the congregations have decided them and are worshiping Satans laws instead of God’s. JP

  2. thank you for answering my question with this lesson..i have made numerous printed copy’s and sent them out..