“And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.'” — Exodus 20:1-2 (NIV84)
As sinful human beings, we often look at the commands of God and feel like He is taking something away from us. We feel He is restricting our freedom. We hear all those “dos” and “don’ts” and resent the fact that God is trying to run our lives. This perspective is a satanic lie. It is the same lie that Satan used to dupe Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Satan doesn’t want us to see that God’s commands are really rooted in His grace. The Lord wants what’s best for us. Like a good parent, He wants to provide us a road map for our lives that avoids dangers, potholes and roadblocks. In the beginning, God placed the tree of the knowledge and good and evil in the garden because He loved Adam and Eve. Obedience to the command not to eat gave them the ability to express their divinely implanted agape (love). They were able to show God that they loved Him with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength.
The same is true for our verses for today. These verses are God’s introduction to the Ten Commandments. The Lord was reminding His children that He was the One who redeemed them from their slavery in Egypt. Before He spoke a single command He reminded them of His grace. Why? Because He wanted their obedience to be in response to His grace. God doesn’t desire just blind, meaningless obedience. He desires obedience that is rooted in gratitude for all that He has done. The Lord desires our obedience, not just because He is God and He can, but because He loves us and knows what is best for us. He wants our obedience to be rooted in His grace, motivated by His love, and lived out as an expression of gratitude.