D The Law given
19v1-25 Mount Sinai
1: In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 2: For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. 3: And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5: Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7: And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8: And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. 9: And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. 10: And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, 11: And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. 12: And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: 13: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. 14: And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 15: And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. 16: And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17: And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18: And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19: And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20: And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. 21: And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. 22: And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. 23: And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. 24: And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them. 25: So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.
20v1-21 The Ten Commandments
1: And God spake all these words, saying, 2: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6: And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9: Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13: Thou shalt not kill. 14: Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15: Thou shalt not steal. 16: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. 18: And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19: And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20: And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21: And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
20v22-26 How to build an altar
22: And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23: Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. 24: An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 25: And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 26: Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
In today’s reading we have the record of the momentous event of the giving of the ten commandments at Mt Sinai. It took three months for Israel to get from Egypt to Mt Sinai. This mountain in south west Saudi Arabia. It can be seen today.
The Lord gave a clear and great promises of blessing if only Israel will keep the Commandments of the Lord. He promises that if they obey him then he will make them a peculiar people above all of the nations of the earth. They will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (This expression call only be used of Israel - not the church. The Church is never a nation, It is made up of individuals of every nation) These words were spoken before the people of Israel and the people responded saying, ‘All that the Lord has said we will do’. Then the Lord told Moses to prepare the people wby washing themselves and their clothes, because in three days the LORD will come down onto the top of the mountain. Then the Lord told Israel to be very careful not to come near to the mountain. Anyone who did come near was to be executed. And when they hear the long trumpet blast they are to gather to the Lord at the bottom of the mountain. On the third day first thing in the morning when the Children of Israel woke up, they heard thundering and saw lightening and a thick cloud on the top of the mountain and they heard the sound of a very loud trumpet which caused everyone in the camp to be very afraid. When the Lord came down onto the top of the mountain the whole top of the mountain was burning like a furnace and smoke ascended like a huge cloud and the mountain quaked. The Lord called Moses to go up the mountain, so he went up. Then the Lord told him to go down the mountain and warn the people not to break through the boundary of the mountain - lest they die. He told the people that the priests are to sanctify themselves (wash) lest the Lord should destroy them. Moses and Aaron went up the mountain and the Lord gave them what we call today the ten commandments. The Lord began by setting the context of these laws. He said 'I am the LORD thy God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage'. This law was specific to Israel. It applied only to them and is never applied to uncircumcised gentiles.
Commandments related to God
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
Worship is sacred.
2. You shall not make graven images.
Work is sacred.
3. You shall not misuse the name of God.
God’s name is sacred
Commandment related to the Sabbath day
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
Rest is sacred
Commandments related to family
5. Honour your father and mother
Respect and the Provision for parents sacred
6. You shall not murder
Life is sacred
7. You shall not commit adultery
Marriage is sacred
Commandments related to neighbours
8. You shall not steal
Possessions are sacred
9. You shall not give false witness
Reputations are sacred
10. You shall not covet
Desires are sacred
When the People saw the mountain quake and the thunder and lightening they went back and stood afar off to look on. But Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. Then the Lord instructed Moses that when the children of Israel want to offer a sacrifice it must be on an altar of stones. There the Lord promised to be with them and bless them. The stones must be taken from the earth not having any tool working on them. If men work on the stones then the stones are polluted. And the altar is not to be high up because as the priest climbs his legs will be exposed and this would be showing ones nakedness. This would be a great sin.