God reveals His divine plan of redemption for Israel by the time we read Exodus chapter 20. The Lord’s mighty hand released the nation of Israel from their taskmasters. He brought them to His holy mountain and there He will personally write the Ten Commandments (Decalogue) and give them to Moses for the people. God pours out His sovereign law out on a tablet and written on the hearts of men. Through these laws, the LORD sets in motion His divine plan for social, religious and national order for all mankind. Fast forward a few millennia and see another member of the Godhead revealing a new set of edicts given in the Beatitudes, during the Sermon on the Mount. When people conform to Jesus will, they receive blessing. through comparing and contrasting the Ten Commandments with the Beatitudes we uncover amazing truths.
First, consider the hearts of the people in the audience during the conveying of the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes. The condition of Israel’s collective heart predisposed them to reject God and His laws at Mt. Sinai. This act of disobedience led the LORD to punish them. They had to wander the desert for forty years until the disobedient members had passed away. The people had sin in their hearts and the LORD did not possess them. They set their needs and desires in front of the LORD. They focused on their own flesh, not on their souls, nor their nation and certainly not upon Jehovah.
Similarly, Jesus encountered self-centered attitudes of the people when He gave the Beatitudes during the Sermon on the Mount. The crowd hoped that the Messiah would rid them of Roman rule, lead the nation back into regional prominence and improve their standard of living. While some heard and believed His message, they still had dark disobedient souls. His arrest, trial and crucifixion clearly demonstrated the condition of their hearts. Seemingly, only time and space separated the Hebrews in Exodus and those in the New Testament gospels. Any man will struggle to worship of God, if they worship themselves.
Next, examine the focus of the Ten Commandments versus the Beatitudes. The LORD provided the Ten Commandments to help Israel deal with the outward aspect of their behavior. The commandments dealt with the sins of commission and omission. Commission deals with how a man behaves toward his God, neighbor, parents and family. Sins of omission occur when a man does not do what he should. God’s law would scrutinize every aspect of the people’s lives. Interestingly, no human could ever withstand the blistering scrutiny of the law that ancient Jews had to endure. Jews lived their lives learning the law, following the law, and observing their brethren to ensure they did not break the law.
On the other hand, the Beatitudes examined the inward aspect of man; the thoughts, intents and attitudes of his heart. What drove a man to act out in sin and in obedience troubled Jesus, what they thought and why they thought. Jesus...