The following is an excerpt from the Winter 2016 issue of The Gospel Project for Adults. The Gospel Project takes adults, students, and kids on a chronological, Christ-centered journey through the storyline of Scripture. Preview one month free at gospelproject.com.
The Lawgiver Loves His People (Ex. 19:1-6; 20:1-2)
On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.’ —Exodus 19:1-6
In love, God was preparing the hearts of the people by reminding them how He treated them in the past. He was also re-establishing the nature of His relationship with them by reminding them of the covenant He had established with Abraham. God was teaching them about His grace and how to respond in ways that would please Him and reflect His love to the rest of the world.
God told Moses to remind Israel that He was the One who delivered them from their bondage to the Egyptians and brought them to Himself. In delivering Israel, God was putting His character as Redeemer on display.
When we think of Moses on Mount Sinai, we think of the Ten Commandments. But it’s important to put those Commandments in context. Even the two verses that precede the Commandments (Ex. 20:1-2) reassure Israel of God’s power and love.
And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’
The Ten Commandments are not a list of rules from a rigid and uncaring taskmaster. They are from a loving Father who rescued His children from slavery.
God’s love is not only seen in His deliverance, but it is also seen in His gift of a covenant. God made a covenant with Moses that declared His intentions to Israel. God loved Israel enough not to hide His will from them. While false religion frustrated people by keeping them guessing as to how to placate their imaginary gods, God loved people enough to show Himself in the law. By telling Israel about Himself through the law, God was establishing a clear understanding of how to know and please Him. The law removed any ambiguity and showed them what God’s holiness looked like applied to the context of their lives.
As we seek to understand the law, we must see how God was also preparing Israel for the job He had assigned them. They were called to a holy vocation through the law (Ex. 19:6). Israel was given the privilege to display God and evidence Him to the world through their obedience to the law.
Through the law, God pulled back the veil of heaven to give us a significant glimpse of Himself. He shows us His holiness and helps us see our utter hopelessness to fulfill the demands that His holiness requires apart from the work of Jesus on our behalf. It is only at the cross that we can find the fulfillment of the law.
Excerpted from The Gospel Project for Adults © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.