Ten Covenant Words (Commandments) Do Not Kill
The Next Commandment
Do not Kill
Life 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Exodus 20:13, “You must not murder.”
One of the obstacles the children of Israel faced was the surrounding nations. Their culture and practices were not in line with God’s desire for his children. There were times when God instructed the people of Israel to destroy an entire city and to not leave anyone standing. Those people participated in practices that were far from honoring God. They sacrificed children to their gods. They murdered anyone and everyone for no reason. They were only concerned for power. They murdered at will. They did not honor life.
In the wilderness were times when God knew if the children of Israel allowed a nation or a tribe to live, their evil practices would have a dire effects on the practices that God intended for his children. God knew that if their evil enemies were spared, Israel would suffer. In Deuteronomy 2:34 it says, “We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed everyone—men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared. While God is forgiving and just, God is also good and opposes evil. Those who were completely eradicated were unable to be spared. In order for God to keep the children of Israel moving forward it was necessary to give them a chance for a fresh start.
A culture that does not revere life and believes in murder at will (I am not addressing capital punishment here but am talking about a whole culture decision to participate in lawless acts.) There are destructive practices that endanger an entire social system. God was protecting his people from those who participated in evil practices that were systemic. God knew murder at random would forever damage the culture he wanted for his children.
In addition to systemic affects of lawless murder, God knew his children needed to understand and revere life.
God forgives. We do reap what we sow. Those are not contrary to each other.
So, here’s the real deal. We actually don’t get what we deserve. We really do deserve death but Jesus made it possible for us to have life. He doesn’t want anyone to die without Him. Jesus knows the core of every person...why they do what they do.
Jesus reveres life. Jesus died for everyone.
Jesus’ greatest concern is for anyone who isn’t getting it. How can Jesus help those who don’t believe they are wrong and they don’t confess. If we, in our hearts murder someone who has done something evil to us and do not love him aren’t we just as guilty? Jesus knew that murder not only hurts the victim but it hurts the murderer.
Every time we murder someone in our hearts a piece of the hatred is planted. If the hatred isn’t weeded out quickly it has a chance to take root and grow. We reap what we sow.
In Luke 8:4-8, NKJV: “And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as they sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus knows we may be in a place where the seed has been planted and it begins to grow but if WE take charge of our lives and disconnect from the source of life we won’t get the moisture we need for the plant to grow. The world thinks life comes from taking charge yourself and taking up for your own, Jesus wants us to rely on the source of life. What Jesus desires most is that he would be able to fight our battles for us. He wants us to believe and exercise our faith. Jesus whispers ‘life’ to us and wants us to receive what He has FOR us. Jesus wants us to hear Him.
Do not kill/murder is an essential part of the covenant because God wanted his children to listen carefully to his instructions. If He says to clear out the land and take nothing (walk away) then we need to walk away. But if Jesus tells us to wait for Him to act we need to be patient. We need to listen. We need to stay connected to the source. We need to NOT act. We need to practice our faith by reading scripture and listening to what God has to give us from scripture. We need to talk to God so we will recognize his voice. We need to use our gifts for God. We need to allow God to think outside of our ‘box’.
God viewed murder (Cain and Abel) with great distain. The circumstances leading up to the murder were somewhat difficult to understand. In Genesis 4 we learn that Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. Genesis 4:3-5 says, “When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.”
Abel’s offering of a lamb was an acceptable offering. It was a sacrificial offering. It was a blood offering.
Cain’s offering of grain was good but it was not a blood offering and so it was not accepted. While the grain was good for food and survival, it did not contain life.
That was not the problem. What Cain did next WAS.
God made it clear to Cain in Genesis 4:7, “You will be accepted if you do what is right.” God clearly told Cain his offering needed to be a blood offering. Instead of admitting to God he made a mistake and he would give a blood offering the next time harvest came around, Cain took matters into his own hands.
Let’s suppose Cain started to hate his offering. He hated the choice he made. Then he looked at Abel’s offering and he hated the lamb. In a little while, Cain decided it wasn’t only the lamb he hated but it was Abel. From that point on, Cain started looking for ways to justify his hatred.
He thought, ‘If only Abel wasn’t trying to make him look so bad.’
And, ‘did I see Abel smirk just ever so slightly when God accepted his offering and didn’t accept mine?’
Cain’s anger had a chance to take root and grow pretty quickly. Once it took root it was off and running. Then Genesis 4:8 says, “One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.”
Cain had decided the only way to deal with his hatred was for him to get rid of Abel.
After Cain was caught and God issued his punishment, Cain said, ““My punishment is too great for me to bear! (Genesis 4:13). Still he wasn’t ready to feel bad for what he did to his brother. Cain was only concerned for his well-being and safety. Still, God had mercy on him and promised him that he would be safe and anyone who harmed him would suffer sevenfold for doing harm to him.
Always and forever, a God of justice and a God of mercy. God did not let Cain’s deed go unpunished but at the same time He showed great mercy.
God knew what the murder did to Cain’s heart and that the punishment was difficult for him to bear, but at the same time God also knew he needed to realize the evil Cain was carrying in his heart.
In the covenant God wanted his children to understand that not only was murder bad for the society, it was destructive to the individual committing the murder. The example of Cain shows us how the hate grew in his heart. At any time, Cain could have stopped the hate and turned to God. Cain however, chose not to do that. He let the hate take root.
Jesus’ explanation of murder took on an even deeper meaning. Jesus knew that hatred in our hearts was destructive even if murder wasn’t the end result. Jesus told his followers that if they hate with their hearts there is a judgment attached to our thoughts. God sees and hears every word, every thought we possess and knows our hatred is destructive to US.
Jesus also made it clear that his purpose in coming was not to “abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” (Matthew 5:17). What is the purpose of the law? The purpose is LIFE.
God’s desire for his children is that they would have abundant life (John 10:10) and that they would flourish. God knew if they obeyed the covenant they would live and flourish. God’s desire for us is always to turn to Him and receive life.
Jesus also instructed his followers that they should respond to their enemies by praying for them. He didn’t say that so they would suffer. Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies because he knows in doing that we expand our hearts. Jesus knew that when we pray for someone we begin to see HIS perspective. Only by talking to God about someone who has hurt us can we begin to see them as God sees them.
We need to remember that God loves every person regardless of what they’ve done, regardless of the decisions they’ve made, regardless of whether or not they choose Him. Even if they do not choose God, God chooses them. God loves them. We need to see that person as God sees them and begin the process of forgiving them and loving them. Notice I said, the process.
It’s also important to note that WE do not do it. By praying for our enemies we turn to God and God gives the love we need for that person. Forgiveness is also not ours to accomplish, but belongs to God. When we have suffered (regardless of the cause) and forgiveness is needed we turn to God and admit that we want to forgive. We do not feel like forgiving because we are carrying pain. By making a choice to tell God you forgive them, that gives God the right to begin the healing process. Once again, we do not feel like forgiving and we do not have warm and fuzzies for that person. Depending on the severity of the problem we may have suffered great harm and we need to deal with our pain. By speaking words of forgiveness we release it to God.
It’s also important to note that by forgiving someone that doesn’t mean you are giving them permission to harm you again. They are responsible to God for the wrong-doing and they will answer to God. You are not responsible for their actions or for fixing the relationship. If they confess and tell you they want to make it right, you can give them a chance. Your heart will be tender and you will proceed with caution. As you work through the process, rely on God and continue to pray. Know that God sees the motivation of your heart.
That’s the key.
God sees the motivation of your heart. God knows when we hate, love, forgive, hold onto our pain, turn from Him or turn to Him. God knows everything about us and what’s remarkable is that He loves us anyway.
When God wrote this part of the covenant (commandment), He had YOU (me) in mind. He had your best interest in His heart. The ‘don’t murder’ part was ultimately for you (us).
Don’t murder was because God loves you.
God loves you.
All for you.
Murder Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”
Turn to Luke 6:46-49 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Enemies Luke 6:27-28 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.
Forgive Luke 6:37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Anger Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’
Neighbor Romans 13:9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Practice: BE thankful for your enemies.
Intentionally forgive and thank God for at least one person who has hurt you. Surrender them to God.
In God, Deb