Most of today’s reading pertains to God giving the Israelites the Mosaic Law. By the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were brought out to new liberty (Ex. 1-18). By the Law, they were brought under new government (Ex. 19-24). By the Tabernacle, they were brought into new fellowship (Ex. 25-40). This is a recurring pattern in all ages of how God deals with His people. In the Exodus, the Law and the Tabernacle is redemption, reconstruction, reconciliation. In other words, life, law love.
The giving of the 10 commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) and the other regulations (Ex. 21-24) must be seen in the context of God’s covenantal dealings with Israel. The Jewish people are already in a covenant relationship with the LORD/Yahweh through Abraham. When Israel was groaning and suffering in their slavery to Pharaoh we read these words on Ex. 2:24: “God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob”.
The giving of the 10 commandments and the other regulations to Israel by God is not meant to be a new means of salvation for the Jewish people. Salvation according to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures has always been on the basis of God’s grace through faith. God’s people have never been justified by works. In Gen. 15:6 we read these words: “Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”
When the LORD gave the 10 commandments to Israel on Mt. Sinai, they were already God’s people. God already was in a covenant relationship with them since they were Abraham’s descendants. Furthermore, they had already been redeemed by God’s grace and power from bondage to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Obeying the 10 commandments did not make them God’s people. In Ex. 19:4, we read these words from God to Israel: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”
In the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai, “God renews an ancient commitment to His people by the covenant of Moses” (Palmer Robertson). The Mosaic Law spells out in a more detailed form what it means to live faithfully as God’s people. It is also organically related to the Davidic Covenant which was given to David several hundred years after the Mosaic Law was given (see 2Samuel 7). Note David’s death-bed charge to Solomon his son and successor in 1Kings 2:1-4. Let me write David’s words from verse 3: “Walk in His ways, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and requirements as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.”
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Mosaic Law. In this Law, we have a revelation of God’s holiness and a tutor or guide that is meant to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3). The 10 commandments also gives us detailed guidance in how to love God with our entire being (Ex. 20:3-11) and how to love others as ourselves (Ex. 20:12-17). In the Bible, love is never only a feeling. It always involves action for the good of others and which upholds their dignity and honor. In Christ’s love & service, Pastor John