Despite a popular myth perpetuated by Cecil B. DeMille’s classic film “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston as Moses, the Ten Commandments were not simply given to Moses on tablets of stone by Almighty God and then delivered by Moses to the Israelites.
Scripture tells us that God spoke the Ten Commandments to the Israelites from Mt. Sinai through the thunderings and lightning bolts that accompanied the giving of the divine statutes. One can only imagine the voice of God distinctly presenting the Ten Commandments in an audible voice to those assembled –approximately two million persons — at the foot of the mountain (though not close enough to touch the mountain under threat of death).
The voice of God had to have been incredibly loud to be heard over the stormy manifestations, and it is written that the people cried out not to hear anymore. Read Exodus: 19 and 20; Deuteronomy 4:10, 5:4, 22. It was a cosmic mass event which changed the course of human history forever.
The Everlasting Source of the moral law revealed His most basic requirements – His eternal requirements – to fallen and depraved humanity.
In today’s world, increasing numbers are reversing the Ten Commandments and/or “contextualizing” them. Instead of “Thou shall not murder” we see do whatever makes you happy. If your pregnancy gets in the way, you have a right to murder the unborn child. Instead of “Honor Your Father and Your Mother,” we see the assert your individuality. If you are an 8-year-old boy and want to wear a dress to school, use the girl’s bathroom, etc. don’t let anyone stand in the way, especially your parents. Instead of “Thou shall have no other gods before me,” we are told to revel in all religions of the world, that there is more than one way to God.
The greatest tragedy is not that the Ten Commandments are vanishing from public schools, courtrooms, and government buildings, but that they are disappearing from the minds, hearts, and lives of most Americans.
The American experiment in ordered liberty presupposes the existence of a Supreme Being who instituted a universal moral code. As the Declaration of Independence reminds us, this code is “self-evident.” Indeed, the Declaration enshrined this simple yet powerful truth, that “unalienable rights,” or basic human rights, do not come as a gift from a ruling elite, such as kings and rulers, parliaments and legislatures, judges and courts; rather, natural rights come from God.