FIRST-PERSON: The Ten Commandments, rediscovered

NASHVILLE (BP) -- I'm finding the Ten Commandments more refreshing than ever. There's no other word for it -- refreshing.

No, there's not much refreshing about the ancient-looking granite or picture-framed depictions of the Ten Commandments in public places.

The noble array of enduring truths in the Ten Commandments -- that's what is refreshing. Would that a modern-day commercial artist capture their power from the Old Testament book of Exodus, chapter 20, with colors that might be bold, or subtle, lettering that might be gripping, or winsome.

Amid today's cultural demise, the Ten Commandments are like a hand-warmer on a frigid night. Or an ice-cold soda on a steamy day.

They are like a witness making a stunning revelation in a court case that seems hopeless.

The "shall not" instruction in the Ten Commandments is not a killjoy but a soul-satisfying source for honorable living. See their vibrancy in Psalm 19, verses 7-11, their uniqueness for "reviving the soul," "making wise the simple," "giving joy to the heart" and "giving light to the eyes."

The Ten Commandments need not be shouted. They are perhaps optimally spoken in a soft voice rooted in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is their crowning touch. See His words in the New Testament book of Matthew, chapter 5, verses 17-19, and chapter 22, verses 36-40.

Amid America's innumerable festivals celebrating books and music, strawberries, pumpkins, beer and wine and, yes, gender abandonment, it would be a novel idea to hold a festival for the Ten Commandments. Let community organizations and businesses set up booths to reflect how they give wholesome nurture to the citizenry as reflected by the commandments. Let the faithful among rock-n-roll, jazz, country and bluegrass performers sing of their hearts' yearning for clear consciences and godliness.

Let us ask ourselves such questions as:

Do we stop at trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior without heeding the morality of our Judeo-Christian heritage?

Can anything else nurture one's conscience better than new birth in Christ and a Holy Spirit-infused Bible awareness that includes the Ten Commandments?

Do we think the Ten Commandments are too outdated yet works by Plato, Socrates and Aristotle aren't?

Are we bigoted toward the commandments' Jewish origin but not wary of the influences of paganism, hedonism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism in culture?

Are we too "entertained" or too high-minded to give the Ten Commandments traction in our lives?

Are we afraid of how the Ten Commandments might change our souls?

What might happen if we spent a few weeks, or months, memorizing the Ten Commandments?

Could they be a cornerstone for revival in our nation?

Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, and author of the ebooks "When I Meditate" and "Meditation & Morality," with descriptors at arttoalston.com. For an earlier article on new birth, click here.
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