Lesson Four

The Ten Commandments

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.…” Exodus 20:1-3

1. What right does God have to give us His commandments?

Exodus 20:2: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

Isaiah 43:1: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’”

Ephesians 2:4-10: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

2 Corinthians 5:15: “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

God says, “I am the LORD your God.” He is JEHOVAH God, the Creator of all things. He is the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the only true God! He redeemed His people from bondage in Egypt. In fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God brought the people out of Egypt and was leading them to the land of Canaan, where He would fulfill His promise to send the Seed of Abraham – the promised Messiah and Savior – through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed (cf. Genesis 22:18). This is why God had the right to give these commandments to His people. He is the LORD God, their Maker and Redeemer! And this is also why the people should have listened to these commandments and gladly and willingly obeyed them.

God has every right to demand that we, too, obey His commandments; for He is the LORD God, our Maker and Redeemer – we belong to Him! He created and formed each of us in our mother’s womb (Cf. Psalm 139:13-16). He made us for Himself – to live for Him and serve Him. But instead of loving Him and serving Him, we love and serve ourselves. As fallen sinners, we do not and cannot keep God’s commandments as He requires. Because of His gracious love and mercy, the LORD God also redeemed us and won salvation for us by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to suffer and to die upon the cross for our sins and then rise again on the third day!

We are the LORD’s – and doubly so! He made us, and even though we have come far short of keeping His commandments, He paid the just penalty for our sins, redeemed us and made us His own again! He delivered us from our bondage under sin and is leading us to the promised land of heaven, which is ours, entirely as His gracious gift! Therefore, the LORD God has every right to give us His holy commandments and to expect obedience! And, as His redeemed children – having His pardon and forgiveness for all our sins and failures for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, we have every reason to gladly and willingly obey Him!

2. What does God mean when He says, “You shall have no other gods before Me”?

The Hebrew literally means that we are to have no other gods before the LORD God’s face. He is present everywhere and sees all, so we are to have no other gods but Him! He is our Maker and Redeemer; there is no other god but Him.

3. What does this commandment forbid?

Isaiah 42:8: “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.”

Matthew 4:10: “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”

John 5:23: “All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

Dr. Martin Luther in his Small Catechism explains this commandment in this way: “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

4. What does it mean to fear God above all things?

Psalm 33:8: “Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

Psalm 100:3: “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

Genesis 17:1: “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.”

Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.”

Proverbs 14:16: “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident.”

Read Genesis 39:1ff. (especially v. 9) and consider how Joseph’s respect for God kept him from sinning.

The LORD God is the only true God; and we should “fear, love, and trust in Him above all things” (Martin Luther’s SMALL CATECHISM). We should remember that God is the Almighty Creator, and honor Him as such! We should obey His commandments and avoid all that displeases Him.

5. What does it mean to love God above all things?

Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 10:12-13: “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”

Matthew 10:37: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Read Luke 22:54-62 and John 21:15-17. Did Peter love Jesus above all things on the night when Jesus was arrested?

Because the LORD God is our Maker and also our Redeemer, we should love Him with all our heart, soul and mind, and gladly live our lives for Him (cf. Matthew 22:37; 2 Corinthians 5:15).

6. What does it mean to trust God above all things?

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Psalm 118:8: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Psalm 56:3-4: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”

Read Psalm 91. What does it say about trust in the LORD?

Since God has so wonderfully made us and provides for all our needs, and since He has through Christ’s sufferings, death and resurrection redeemed us from our sins and the eternal punishment we so deserve, we should also trust in Him with all our heart and commit our entire lives to His care and keeping.

Consider Paul’s trust in the LORD Jesus (2 Timothy 4:18): “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

7. Have we done what God requires of us in this commandment?

We must all admit our utter failure; for we so often neglect Him and push Him out of our lives as though He did not exist. Every time we sin against any commandment of the LORD, we are also failing to fear, love and trust in God above all things. We place ourselves and other persons and things before the loving God who gave us life in our mother’s womb and everlasting life in Christ Jesus, our Savior; and we neglect to give to Him the glory and honor due unto His name!

LORD God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be merciful to us and forgive us for our many failures to honor You as the LORD God, our Maker and Redeemer. Enable and teach us to fear, love and trust in You above all else. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, God the Son and our Savior. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]



Do you ever feel like hiding from God? Are there times when, because of sin in your life, or sin in the lives of those around you, you wish you could hide from God’s presence?

Are there times when you feel that God is not with you or that He doesn’t know what is going on in your life? Does it seem as though God is not aware of all the troubles you are facing?

And what about your thoughts and feelings? Does God know the troubles of your heart?

Consider the following psalm of David and the truths it reveals about God, His presence with you and how well he knows you and all you suffer. Consider also what He desires for you.

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Consider the following questions:

1. How well does God know you? See v. 1-5. Is there anything in your life which God does not know? What does the Bible say God knows about you?

2. Can we understand God’s knowledge of us and of all our thoughts and ways? See v. 6. Cf. Isaiah 55:8-9.

3. Is there anyplace we can flee to escape from God? See v. 7-12. Was Jonah able to escape from the presence of the Lord when he tried to get out of going to warn the people of Nineveh? See Jonah 1.

4. How is God’s omnipresence (being present everywhere) sometimes frightening to us? Cf. John 3:19-20. How is God’s presence with us everywhere comforting to us? Cf. Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 6:31-33.

5. Who formed us in the wombs of our mothers? See v. 13-16. How do these verses describe this? What do these verses say to abortion (in connection with Exodus 20:13)?

6. What kind of thoughts does God have toward us? See v. 17-18; cf. Ezekiel 33:11; John 3:16-18; 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 1:3-14. What does God desire for you?

7. How does God feel toward those who persist in their wicked and sinful ways? See v. 19-22. Can Christians love lost sinners and desire that they repent and believe in Jesus as their Savior and also have godly hate for those who continue on in impenitence and unbelief? Can their unbelief and impenitence grieve us? What do these verses say?

8. What does David pray that God would do in verses 23-24? Does David ask that God would reveal to him his sins that he might repent and look to God for mercy in Christ Jesus and then seek to amend his life?

9. How can David’s prayer in verses 23-24 be an example for us? Why is it important that God reveals to us our sinful and wicked ways? Read 1 John 1:7 – 2:2. What would God have us do in regard to our sins?

10. What is the way everlasting in verse 24? Cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; 1 John 5:11-12; Mark 16:15-16.

O omnipresent and omniscient God, thank You for creating me and giving me life, for being present with me and watching over me in every situation, for desiring and working for my eternal salvation through faith in Your Son and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, for preserving me in the true faith by moving me to repent of my sins and looking to Jesus and His cross in faith for Your pardon and forgiveness. Graciously keep me in the way everlasting, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.




The first phrase in the Hebrew text of 1:1 is bereshith (“in [the] beginning”), which is also the Hebrew title of the book (books in ancient times customarily were named after their first word or two). The English title, Genesis, is Greek in origin and comes from the word geneseos, which appears in the pre-Christian Greek translation (Septuagint) of 2:4; 5:1. Depending on its context, the word can mean “birth,” “genealogy,” or “history of origin.” In both its Hebrew and Greek forms, then, the traditional title of Genesis appropriately describes its contents, since it is primarily a book of beginnings. — International Bible Society

What are some things which begin in the Book of Genesis?

Who wrote the Book of Genesis? See Deuteronomy 31:9-13, 24; Nehemiah 8:1; 13:1; Mark 12:26; Luke 16:29-31; Luke 24:27, 44-47; John 1:45; Acts 28:23.

Introduction to Genesis by Paul E. Kretzmann in his Popular Commentary

The Book of Genesis (beginning) is the first of five books known collectively as the Pentateuch, which the many Scriptural references in the later books of the Old Testament as well as those of the New Testament compel us to ascribe to the authorship of Moses. In the Book of Genesis the inspired author presents a record of the origin of the world, of the human race, of the institution of marriage, of the beginning of sin, of the first judgment of God upon a sinful world, of the first preaching of the Gospel, and of the beginning of the chosen race as the bearers of the Messianic prophecies.

Moses, the author of the Book of Genesis, was the son of Amram, a member of the tribe of Levi, and his wife Jochebed, as recorded in Exodus, chaps. 2 and 6. He was born in Egypt, at the time when the rise of a new dynasty had caused the deeds of Joseph to be forgotten and the new Pharaoh had laid upon the children of Israel such intolerable burdens as ever a nation was obliged to bear. By God’s dispensation, his own mother became his nurse after his parents had found it impossible to keep him at home any longer, Ex. 2, 8. 9. In this way, Moses was instructed in the history and the religion of his people, and although he afterward, as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, he remained true to Jehovah, the God of his fathers. From the land of Midian, whither Moses had fled from the wrath of Pharaoh, the Lord called him to be the deliverer and the leader of the children of Israel, and he served in this capacity for somewhat more than forty years, until he had brought the people to the boundaries of Canaan, where he appointed Joshua as his successor, went up on Mount Nebo, where God showed him the entire country which his people were to possess, died there, and was buried by the Lord Himself. Moses probably wrote the Book of Genesis sometime during the forty years’ sojourn in the wilderness, and God not only inspired him to write but also revealed to him most of the matter that is contained in the account, since tradition would, at best, have been extremely unreliable and many events could not have been known but by the special revelation of the Lord.

The Book of Genesis may be divided according to various points of view. The simplest division is that into two parts, chaps. 1–11 recording the beginnings of all history to the confusion of tongues, and chaps. 12–50 showing how God paved the way for the establishment of the theocracy as it afterward existed for a number of centuries. Some commentators prefer the division into six chief parts, chaps. 1–5 dealing mainly with Adam, chaps. 6–11 with Noah, chaps. 12–24 with Abraham, chaps. 25–27 with Isaac, chaps. 28–36 with Jacob, and chaps. 37–50 with Joseph.

The [first] period of which the Book of Genesis treats begins with the creation of man and ends with the Flood, comprising some 1,700 years. Though there is no valid reason for assuming that the art of writing had not been developed by the people of the world at that time, recent discoveries indicating, rather, that the art of writing was a common accomplishment in the East as early as the time of Abraham, in fact, that large libraries were then in existence, there was no urgent need of recording the Word of God at that time, since the patriarchs lived to a very great age and were able to pass on what God had revealed to them by word of mouth, from generation to generation. The record shows, for instance, that Adam lived for fifty-six years after Lamech, the father of Noah, had been born. This providential arrangement continued for some time after the Flood; for Abraham was born 150 years before the death of Shem and surely profited by his instruction. The period from the Flood until the death of Joseph is that of the patriarchs proper and covers a space of some six hundred years. At its close, the chosen family of Abraham had multiplied into a numerous people.

The modern student of the Bible will find in the Book of Genesis abundant evidence of the providential working of God in the destinies of mankind. Above all, however, the Christian will follow with the greatest interest the Messianic types and prophecies which appear even thus early in the Holy Scriptures; for just as the entire New Testament looks back to Christ, thus the entire Old Testament looks forward to Christ. Jesus is the center of all divine revelation.

Read Genesis 1:1-2:3

1. What is the meaning of the word “genesis”? How did this book come to be called Genesis?

2. Who gave us this book and its account of beginnings? How did He do it?

3. Who created the heavens and the earth? Cf. Genesis 1:1-2, 26; John 1:1-3, 10, 14; Colossians 1:12-16.

4. How many days did God use to create all things? See Genesis 1:31 – 2:3. How long were those days? Cf. Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

5. What did God create on each day? How did He do it? See Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 1:2-3, 10; 11:3.

6. How does God continue His creation? See Genesis 1:11-12, 22, 28; Hebrews 1:3; Psalm 145:15-16; Nehemiah 9:6.

7. What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Cf. Genesis 1:26-27; Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24.

8. What was man’s relation to all the animals? See Genesis 1:26-28. What does this mean?

9. What did God give to be food for man and all the animals at this time? See Genesis 1:29-30.

10. What did God say of His creation? Did He create evil, sin or death? See Genesis 1:31.

11. How is the creation account foundational to the Christian Faith?



Psalm 33

1 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. 3 Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy. 4 For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. 9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. 11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. 13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. 14 From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; 15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. 16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. 22 Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in You.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1. Read verses 1-3. What does this psalm say about worshipping the LORD? What type of instruments are mentioned for use in praise? What kind of song was to be used in praise?

2. Who is to be worshipped and praised? What does the word “LORD” indicate?

3. Read verses 4-5. Why were God’s people to worship the LORD? Cf. Psalm 96.

4. Read verse 6. How were the hosts of heaven created? How are they sustained? Cf. Genesis 1:14-19; Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:1-3.

5. What is described in verse 7? Cf. Genesis 1:9-10.

6. Read verses 8-9. What does the psalm here enjoin? Why? Do the people of this world do so? Why or why not?

7. Read verses 10-11. What does the psalmist say about the plans of men and nations? About God’s plans? How long do God’s plans continue to be carried out and fulfilled? What is His desire and plan for us? Cf. Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9; Luke 24:46-47.

8. Read verse 12. Which nation and people are blessed of the LORD? Is it of their own will or choosing, or of the LORD’s mercy? Cf. John 1:12-13; 2 Tim. 1:9.

9. Read verses 13-15. Who made our hearts and sees all that we think and do? Is anything hidden from the eyes of the LORD? Cf. Psalm 139:1-16.

10. Read verses 16-19. Are kings (presidents and rulers) and nations saved by their great armies and military might? Will great strength or human weapons save us? Who does the LORD look upon and save in the day of trouble? How alone can we be spared in the day of judgment? Cf. Acts 4:12; John 14:6; John 3:18,36.

11. Read verses 20-21. In whom do we place our hope? Why? Cf. Psalm 130:7-8.

12. Read verse 22. For what does the psalmist pray? For what should we pray?

Look at LSB Hymns No. 816 and 717. How do these hymns echo the message of this psalm?



Read Luke 24:46-53 and Acts 1:1-12

  • When did Jesus ascend?
  • Where did the ascension take place?
  • What did Jesus’ disciples do after Jesus’ ascension?

What benefits do we as believers derive through Jesus’ ascension?

Read John 16:7-16; cf. John 14:15-18, 23-26. Why does Jesus say it is to our advantage that He ascends to the Father? How important is this?

Read Ephesians 1:15-23; Cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Philippians 2:5-11. What does it mean when we say Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father in heaven? Over what does He rule? Where is He present? Why is that important to us? How is Jesus’ ascension connected to our fulfillment of His great commission?

Read Hebrews 9:24-28; cf. 9:11ff.; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2. What is Jesus doing for us now before God the Father? How long will He continue to do this for us who look to Him and His cross for pardon and life eternal?

Read Hebrews 10:19-25; cf. 1 John 5:14-15. What privilege do we have because Christ died for our sins, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father?

Read Acts 1:11; cf. Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:29-31; 1 Cor. 15:20-24, 50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18. How will Jesus come back on the Last Day? Who will see Him on that Day? What will take place on that Day?

O crucified, risen and ascended Savior, we praise Your name for accomplishing our salvation through Your death, resurrection and glorious ascension. Graciously keep us in the true and saving faith until that day when You return, as your disciples saw You ascend, to take us to dwell with You forever. Amen.