“Out of Egypt”: The Ten Commandments
You would think that something so common to humanity would be understood better. But when it comes to love, it is not. Despite the universal nature of love, it is perhaps one of the greatest mysteries to us. What exactly is love? How do you know you are in love? And why does love even exist anyway?
These are questions that plague pretty much every culture. Doubt it? Go check out the subject matter of some of the most popular songs out there.
Love is a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t surprise us that God has much to say about love in the Bible.
The Source of Love
God is love (1 John 4:16). If we want to know love, then we must first come to know God. This is why the world struggles to understand and express love—because it is dabbling in its shadows rather than in the substance of its reality.
As we come to know the character of God more, we come to understand love more. But it is more than just an academic pursuit. The more we know God, the more we experience love too—the more cause we see to love our Creator.
This is why one of the best things you can do for your kids is to immerse them in the Scriptures, God’s revelation of Himself to us. Help them connect the dots to understand God and His plan to redeem people to Himself through Jesus. Love begins here—it must.
The Feeling of Love
We tend to downplay feelings when we talk about what love really is, but we shouldn’t. When it comes to love, feelings are not primary but neither are they arbitrary. God is the creator of our emotions—they are a good gift from Him. So we need to be careful not to dismiss them.
As we spend time in the Word and come to know God more, our affections should be stirred deep within us. Feelings of love for our God who is so good. Feelings of gratitude and humility for what He has done through Christ. While our feelings may differ in intensity and type, we all should experience them when it comes to loving God.
But this is not the end, or goal, of love. Feelings are a gift but they are also a conduit to carry us on to one final aspect of love.
The Act of Love
Love does not culminate in feelings, but rather in actions. Knowing God leads to stirred affections which leads to obeying Him. All three parts are part of love. We cannot remove any of them and say we love God. We cannot love whom we do not know. We cannot love whom we are not drawn to. And we cannot love whom we do not seek to honor.
This is the heart behind the Ten Commandments. Before we can even get to what they are or how we obey them, we have to start with this basis of love—which is why God starts there:
Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. (Exodus 20:1-2 CSB)
Notice that God introduces the Ten Commandments by reminding His people who He is and what He has done. He is their God—a rescuing God. This reminder is designed for the people to see who He is (know Him), which should prompt stirred affections of gratitude, which will then carry over to receiving and obeying the laws He was about to share.
As we teach our kids about these commandments, let’s share them the way God did. Let’s first be sure to point our kids to the splendor of God so that their hearts are ready to hear these commands which they would want to obey—out of love.
Now once a man has thus been humbled by the Law and brought to the knowledge of himself, then he becomes truly repentant; for true repentance begins with fear and with the judgment of God. He sees that he is such a great sinner that he cannot find any means to be delivered from his sin by his own strength, effort, or works.”—Martin Luther (1483-1546) 
Preschool Tip: For preschoolers, be sure to spend time talking about he content of the commandments. But as you talk about each commandment, strive to show your preschoolers how they each are for God’s glory and our good. For example, God tells us not to covet because He has provided all we need. He is our great and perfect provider so we can be content in what He has given us knowing it is just what we need.
Kids Tip: Help your kids see that we are studying the Ten Commandments this week, not the Ten Suggestions. God expects us to keep these commandments—perfectly. And yet we cannot. And He knows that too. Let this tension sit with your kids for a moment and then guide them to understand that this is why God provided Christ. Jesus obeyed the commandments perfectly and when we trust in Him, we are given forgiveness and His righteousness. Knowing this should prompt us to want to obey these commands and to experience victory—at least in part—with Christ’s help.
 Martin Luther, in Luther’s Works, vol. 26 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1955), 131.