“Welcome to the desert game show meant to entertain and enlighten the wandering folk who seem to be going in circles. My name is Aleck Smart and I am your host. Who’s our first contestant, Johnnie?”
“All the way from Egypt, still wearing the same shoes for 30 years, here’s Herbie ben Romin. ”
“Hello Herbie. You are in the isolation booth and know the rules, so let’s get started. “
*Music of Lyre and Tambourine swells and ebbs. Herbie adjusts his robe and stands up straight.
“What did Moses bring down from the mountain that was written on stone tablets?”
“That’s easy, Aleck. That would be the Ten Commandments.”
“Correct Herbie. Next question: Can you name all ten and tell us, in your own words, just what those commandments mean?”
*Tick-Tick- Tick goes the solar clock as Herbie ponders his answer.
“Uh…well, I know one has something to do with not killing, but I don’t think that means in war or if you’re mad. One is about not stealing, but of course, if you’re hungry, how else are you gonna eat? As I remember, one was about not lying, but we have to do that to keep the peace and to protect ourselves.”
*Emcee, Aleck Smart, wrinkles his brow and tilts his head but lets Herbie continue uninterrupted.
“ Jehovah don’t want no other gods before Him. I know I heard that, but I ain’t too sure what graven images has to do with it. The name of the Lord in vain was another one. If that means cussin the dirt right off the tent and throwing God’s name in for emphasis, it just can’t be helped when the women and children and slaves and animals gets out of hand.”
*Aleck does not move. He is mesmerized. Herbie takes a deep breath, proud of his performance so far, and unchallenged, carries on with great confidence.
“Okay now, let me rest a second and think. Let’s see. I haven’t said nothing about the Sabbath yet. Moses said God said we’re supposed to keep it holy. As long as we ain’t hurtin’ nobody, it don’t seem un-holy to browse in the market place or walk around the sand traps and hit a tiny round rock into a little hole with a stick; Yeah! A HOLE. Ain’t that close enough to HOLY to count?”
*Herbie thinks he’s on a roll, happily mistaking silent response for agreement.
“Now about that mother and father honoring thing. I don’t think that’s valid if the old fogies cramp your style, or try to force old musty religious stuff down your throat. I mean, they don’t know that times have changed and they’re out of the loop. They just don’t know what’s the camel’s pajamas these days.”
*Aleck Smart’s mouth seems stuck -- open. He can’t believe his ears. Herbie has gotten louder and punches the air with his fist.
“I hate to even mention that adultery/ fornication one. That’s kind of personal and nobody’s business. Besides, why’d God make us humans with these romantical feelings if we wasn’t supposed to do whatever we want whenever we want to. That’s just plain ole mean. I don’t think he meant we CAN’T indulge our baser senses; He probably meant something entirely different, but for the moment I can’t think what. HE is a God of Love…so he must believe in L-O-V-E. Right?"
*Aleck opens the isolation booth door. Herbie steps out. The audience stomps and whistles and claps. He bows and waves like he’s the king or something, and believes he has won the prize of all prizes. All the Herbies in all the generations to follow believe the same thing.
They are confused…so very confused.
1, Have no other gods before me
2. Do not make for yourself an idol or a graven image
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy
5. Honor your mother and your father
6. Do not kill
7. Do not commit adultery/ fornication
8. Do not steal
9. Do not bear false witness (lie) against your neighbor
10 Do not covet
Matthew 19:16 (NLT)
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good, but to answer your question – if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
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