|Ron Mehl, the author of
TEN(DER) COMMANDMENTS, asks, “Have you ever heard the Ten Commandments
described as a love letter…a tender, heartfelt message from the very hand
In his book, he successfully presents The Ten Commandments as instruction in a hand written letter from a loving Father. He describes the benefits of obedience and the unpleasant consequences of disobedience.
“The Lord didn’t want to bind his people in leg shackles and chains after gloriously redeeming them from the death angel and releasing them from slavery. Would he bear them on eagles’ wings to a prison? What sort of deliverance would that be? God knew that all of these commands He set before them, every one of them, would bring about blessing, life, peace, and a secure future. His commandments were (and are) a gift of love in an uncertain and dangerous world,” he wrote in Chapter One.I did find it strange that the only commandment Ron Mehl felt it important to give a disclaimer for was the fourth. He gives examples of the importance of rest and time devoted to God; yet, he says, “I’m not pushing some kind of uptight, legalistic, sunrise-to-sunset ‘day of rest.’”
The commandment says to rest on the Seventh Day after working for six days at human endeavors. Is it “uptight” to rest and relax for an entire 24-hour period? Is it “legalistic” to refrain from stealing or coveting? Why, then, would it be “legalistic” to refrain from work on the Sabbath as God commands?
In spite of some questionable examples in his writing, Ron Mehl does make a good case for God’s commandments as a gift from a loving and merciful Father.
“At creation, God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness’ (Genesis 1:26). And through all the ups and downs, highs and lows, heartbreaks and delights of life on this earth, His one desire is to mold us--hour by hour, day by day--into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.”Each of the commandments, when obeyed, from the heart, help shape us into the character image of Jesus. When we flagrantly disobey them, we end up conforming ourselves to the world and experiencing the inevitable consequences of sin.
“While the world seeks to shape us into a fickle, ever changing image, the Lord tells us in Ephesians 4:24 to ‘put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth’ (NASB).”Ron Mehl’s book THE TEN(DER) COMMANDMENTS offers a fresh look at God’s commands. Instead of being presented as a list of arbitrary and harsh restraints, they are presented as instructions that teach us to avoid actions and attitudes that bring hurtful consequences and cut us off from becoming like the Father-God who loves us.