February 5, 2017. Exodus 19-21.
After three months of wandering through the desert, the children of Israel finally made it to Mount Sinai, the same place where Moses had his ‘burning bush’ experience and heard the call of God to lead God’s people out of Egypt. (Exodus 3). Once here, they will be sanctified and consecrated for two days before they can hear from God. On the third day, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
The Commandments give us God’s perfect standard by which we should live. However, none of us could ever fully live by this standard because none of us are perfect. The Commandments and the Law are teachers; they teach us that we need a Savior. Jesus fulfilled the Law for us, so that by His grace, we saved from the condemnation of the Law. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:24-25,
“23 Before faith in Christ came, we were guarded by the law. We were locked up until this faith was made known. 24 So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ. 25 But now faith in Christ has come. So the law is no longer in charge of us.”
The Commandments govern how we should interact with God and with others. It is good to rehearse the commandments that God gave to Moses and the people of Israel and to strive to live by them. However, Jesus told us in Matthew that the commandments could be summed up very easily. A Pharisee asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. Jesus answered: “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Everything that is written in the Law and the Prophets is based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Love for God and love for mankind, true love, sum up the whole of the commandments of God. If you want to know how to live the life God intends you to live, or how to respond in different circumstances, just let love for God and others be your guide.
Having seen the display of God’s greatness in the thundering, lightening and the mountain smoking, and having heard His commandments, their reply was “Don’t let God speak to us anymore. We only want you to talk to us.” This is quite different than their first words when Moses told them that God was going to give them commandments. At that point, their reply was “Everything He commands, we will do.” We are no different. Praise God that Jesus fulfilled the Law for us and is our advocate before God so that through His righteousness and fulfillment of the Law, we can by faith in Christ live the life God has commanded.