Most of us pass by the sixth commandment without giving it much thought.
In Exodus 20:13, it says, “You shall not murder.”
We live in a “culture of death.” From terrorist bombings to shooting rampages in schools, churches, theaters and night clubs, we see death everywhere we look.
Law enforcement officers are being ambushed and killed on the job. With more than 17,000 known murders every year, the killings are now so frequent and happen so routinely we are no longer shocked or surprised when it happens.
By the time the average child finishes elementary school, he or she has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of on-screen violence. America has the highest homicide rate in the world. The sixth commandment is violated daily.
Sadly, the very first murder to take place was brother killing brother. The sixth commandment is a reminder that life is to be valued. Life is a sacred gift from God.
In Genesis 1:27, we are told, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Human beings are created in the image of God. Every human life is sacred because we are all image bearers of our Heavenly Father (the creator and sustainer of life).
Human life is precious. It is to be highly valued, preserved and protected. We belong to God, and we are accountable to him for our own lives, and we are accountable to him if we take the life of another.
In Genesis 9:6, we are told, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”
God holds human life in high regard. He expects us to do the same. Because people matter to God, they should matter to us.
This commandment is about prematurely ending of a human life. And while this commandment may seem pretty straightforward, it has much broader application than you might think.
There are a variety of ways people violate the sixth commandment. Of course, the first and most obvious is murder. The first recorded act of murder is found in Genesis 4:8. It is the account of Cain killing his brother, Abel.
From that moment to this, murder has been a sad and sinful part of our heritage as human beings. We see it in the pages of scripture, throughout history and in the news each and every day.
Next time, we consider some additional applications of this commandment.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.