The Rules of Freedom

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” -Exodus 34:27 

Dear members and friends,

If we were to summarize the book of Exodus in two words they would be “freedom” and “Decalogue” (the Ten Commandments). Of Exodus’s 40 chapters, the first 19 are about how God freed the Israelites from the slavery under the king of Egypt. The next 21 chapters are about God’s instructions on what to do and what not to do in order to stay free as the chosen people of God. The famous Decalogue originates from chapter 34, which in Greek literally means “ten words” (deka logous). However, when you read this chapter, you find there are more than ten commandments! As a matter of fact, these commandments are repeated a few times in Exodus. Thus, what is important about these commandments may not be that they are divine mandates to the Israelites, but that the divine message to humanity is that living as free people requires keeping certain rules.

The English word “freedom” is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” And, the word “free” is defined as “not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes” or “not or no longer confined or imprisoned.” These definitions indicate quite clearly that each person with freedom is not only responsible for one’s own actions, speech, and thoughts, but also accountable for the consequences of one’s actions, speech, and thoughts. The reason is simply because one who is free has the power to choose one’s own actions, speech, and thoughts voluntarily. Or at least, that is what one is capable of if one is willing to acknowledge it. 

My brothers and sisters in God. God created us as free beings. And, when we lost that freedom, God came down to us to restore it for us. Let us acknowledge and embrace this freedom with responsibility and accountability.  

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee