Exodus 20:15-17 Love fulfils the law and averts calamities paving the way for a blessed life

Exodus 20:15-17 Love fulfils the law and averts calamities paving the way for a blessed life

“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


The first portion of the 10 commandments calls man to love God. The second portion concerns morality. Both represent two sides of the same coin. To call on God is to live in a moral way. To have good morals and to love God are one and the same. A series of calamities are coming upon the earth because of the wickedness of man. Unless man turn from their wicked ways and call upon God, calamities will keep coming. Christians must stop playing church and purify themselves. For many in the church are sharing in the wickedness of the world. Lest the church repent, we will not be spared from the hour of testing. The earth was destroyed by flood because “For all flesh had corrupted its way on earth” (Genesis 6:12). God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because their sins were exceedingly grave (Genesis 18:20). But God spared Nineveh because they repented from their wickedness. Today’s devotion teaches us: Love fulfils the law and averts calamities paving the way for a blessed life.


You shall not steal

The verb “to steal” can have as its object a person or something of tangible or intangible value (e.g. credit, reputation, information etc). The verb carries in it an element of secrecy. However, the Apostle Paul attaches to it a mentality of poverty, slothfulness coupled with dishonesty.

He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. – Ephesians 4:28.

This command appeals to the spirit of giving. One has to be diligent and honest in work so that he may contribute to the community.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The commandment protects the basic right of a person, guarding him against the threat of false accusation. The ninth commandment stands akin to both the third (You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain) and the eighth commandments (You shall not steal). In the court of law, a man takes an oath in the name of God that he has not stolen (see Exodus 22:10). In Leviticus 19:11, stealing is closely tied to dealing falsely and lying to one another. The Apostle Paul takes the command beyond the act into the motive. Paul taught,

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbour, for we are members of one another… Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear… Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:25, 29, 31-32

Here, Paul focuses on the intent behind every word spoken. ”Laying aside falsehood, speak truth” is to be kind and true in all that we say. If a man harbours anger and uses facts with malicious intent, he too is guilty. The command appeals to the appropriate use of words, to edify and build up not just the person concerned, but all who hears.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…

The word “covet” (Chamad in Hebrew) speaks of a desire, a craving that leads to a commensurate transgression. Coveting begins with a desire followed by an action. That said, some covet because they fear poverty and others covet for the love of money (see Proverbs 30:8-9). Hebrews 13:5 speaks of a love for money which is rooted in fear of poverty.

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” – Hebrews 13:5

However, we must not fear poverty for God has promised never to leave us. The Apostle Paul spoke of an insatiable desire for money which is the root of all evil.

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:10

In essence, the commandment warns against worldliness. And one who loves the things of the world makes himself an enemy of God (see James 4:4). Jesus said,

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34

The command calls God’s people to acquire God’s attributes (His righteousness) and to accomplish His work (His kingdom). And God will provide all that is needed for abundant living.


Love fulfils the law and averts calamities paving the way for a blessed life.

The Apostle Paul urged believers to love one another by fulfilling the law. In so doing, we shorten our present crisis and avert future ones. Jesus warned that the last days would usher in a series of crisis (see Luke 21:10-11). But those who fulfil the law by loving his neighbour will see salvation and be kept from the hour of testing. Paul wrote the below letter at a time of great testing,

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. – Romans 13:8-12

If people awake from their stupor and obey the commandments, calamities will be shortened or averted (now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near). That said, many churches today do not teach the commandments for fear of alienating the hearers. To keep them coming, ministers preach God’s unconditional love and forgiveness short of requiring them to forsake adulterous relationships and love for the world. As a result, the moral condition of the people within the church is no different from the people outside. Hence, God uses crisis and calamities to move the nations to repentance and to awake Christians to fulfil their role as priests.

Jonah was sent to warn the people of Nineveh concerning an impending calamity. God promised to avert the calamity if they stop murdering, stealing, coveting and committing adultery. God withdrew the calamity when the king of Nineveh repented in sackcloth, and the people start to call upon God (Jonah 3:5-9). Indeed, the heart of the issue concerns morality, not religion. Calling on God religiously without turning from wickedness will not avert the calamity. This is the state of the church today: people calling on God and profess to love Him without turning from their wicked ways.


Do you think that by living the Christian culture and playing church, we can keep our nation from the calamities that are coming? We must repent from materialism, from self-centredness, strife and jealousy, greed, lust, sensuality, pride and complacency. Make love the motivation of all that we say and do. Jesus’s work of love at the cross averted eternal punishment for humanity. In the same way, our work of love will avert calamities for the nations.

Dear Lord, examine my heart and cause me to see my imperfections. I decide to turn from the things that do not please you. Use me to warn people of the calamities that are coming. Use me to love them and turn them towards you. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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