Dr. Mark Jones, author of The Most Imaginatively Titled and Attractively Designed Book of The Year, was lecturing at PRTS yesterday. He made the point that one of the disadvantages of reading the moral law every week in our churches, especially in its Exodus 20 form, is that we we end up viewing God’s law in a very negative and condemning way.

But, as Mark reminded us, each negative also implies a positive, and each prohibition of vice enjoins a pleasure in virtue.

So, here’s my attempt to re-frame the 10 commandments as 10 pleasures to pursue.

1. Enjoy the pleasure of knowing, worshipping and serving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

2. Enjoy the pleasure of worshipping God in ways that He approves, loves, rewards, and responds to.

3. Enjoy the pleasure of speaking and singing about God’s beautiful persons, names, attributes, and acts.

4. Enjoy the pleasure of six days working in God’s calling for you and then enjoy the freedom of one full day off work to worship God and rest.

5. Enjoy the pleasure of loving and following the leaders God has placed in your life for your temporal and eternal good.

6. Enjoy the pleasure of healthy attitudes and activities that will improve the quality and length of your life.

7. Enjoy every physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual pleasure with the wife/husband God has given you.

8. Enjoy the pleasure of growing wealth in order to provide for your family and to bless others with loving generosity.

9. Enjoy the pleasure of praising others and of promoting all that is true, beautiful, and good.

10. Enjoy the pleasure of being thankful and content with all that God has given you.

When understood in this way, Psalm 1 and others like it begin to make huge sense.

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97).


    Great thoughts, David, thank you!

  • Rich Anjema

    I agree with those thoughts about seeking the positive perspective of God’s law. That is so important. I try to incorporate this occasionally when I read the Law in Sunday morning worship by reading corresponding passages in the New Testament, the Psalms, the Prophets, etc. that show the delight and freedom that the law gives us. However I wonder if the positive side to the 4th c, might be taken individualistically or perhaps superficially, e.g., someone might say, “Sure, I’ll take one full day off work when it suits my schedule. I’ll work the weekend and take Monday off to listen to a sermon online”. Specifically “the Lord’s Day” is very special but is no longer seen as a delight in our culture and to some degree in the Church. I think I’d insert the a phrase “worshipping and resting on the Lord’s Day” in there somewhere… Just a thought. I appreciate your posts, David…

  • http://www.antiordinary74.blogspot.com Eric Dolce

    What’s most interesting about this “re-frame of the 10 Commandments” is that no matter how beautifully described, and alluring the invitation to pleasure, we are just as helpless to obey them without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. From that perspective, the 10 Pleasures may still be useful in preaching the law and drive unbelievers to the gospel. God bless you Dr. Murray!

  • Shawn Anderson

    something to tuck in between each commandment in the Shorter Catechism…now the real challenge is to write something comparable to tuck into the Larger Catechism!

  • Michael Snow

    Most Christians don’t know the Ten Commandments nor teach them to their children, so most will not have a clue what is blatantly missing. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/teaching-children-the-ten-commandments/