Focal Passage: Exodus 20:1-17
In M. Night Shyamalan’s critically acclaimed 2002 film, “Signs,” Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess, a grieving widower who is forced to reckon with God after the death of his wife.
Seemingly random details abound in the film, set against the backdrop of an alien attack on mankind: a daughter who leaves full glasses of water throughout the house, a son who struggles with asthma, a single live-in brother-in-law who failed to achieve his dream of becoming a major league baseball player. The narrative climaxes when an alien threatens to kill Graham’s son.
Graham recalls an ominous statement made to him by his wife as she died. Suddenly, all of the random details come into focus. All was for a purpose, that Graham would remember her words and save himself and his family. The aliens were allergic to water. His son’s asthma would prevent their toxin from infiltrating his lungs. The would-be sports star could strike down the enemy with the prized bat that hung upon the wall.
The context surrounding Exodus 20:1-17 indicates God’s law was given for a purpose, to remind Israel of all that God had done and to warn her of all that He expected in return – love of Him and love of fellow man. To heed the warning and to obey was to save oneself. Of course, we know the law could not produce such obedience because of sin (Romans 8:3). In fact, the law that should have produced obedience aroused “sinful passions” leading to death (Romans 7:5).
God’s holy standard hasn’t changed. But it is made available in Jesus who fulfilled the Law for us. In Him, we are free to joyfully obey the commands of God. Only in Christ can we truly love God with all our heart, soul and might, rejecting other gods and false idols and bringing honor to His name as we rest in him. Only in Christ can we truly love our fellow man, giving honor to those in authority, valuing human life, respecting our neighbors and pursuing peace, contentment and justice.
And when we fail, we can rest knowing that Christ’s perfect obedience covers his people.