In The Word
Read: Exodus 19-20
Moses on Sinai
19 In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. 3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. 8 Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also trust in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.
10 The Lord also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their garments; 11 and have them ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 But you shall set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall certainly be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall certainly be stoned or shot through; whether animal or person, the violator shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. 15 He also said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”
16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
The Lord Visits Sinai
18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the entire mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder.20 Then the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to stare, and many of them perish.22 Also have the priests who approach the Lord consecrate themselves, or else the Lord will break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set boundaries around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 Then the Lord said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, or He will break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
The Ten Commandments
20 Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth.5 You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the punishment of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing favor to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lordwill not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 For six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male slave or your female slave, or your cattle, or your resident who stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; for that reason the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male slave, or his female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
18 And all the people were watching and hearing the thunder and the lightning flashes, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it all, they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but do not have God speak to us, or we will die!” 20 However, Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you will not sin.” 21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.23 You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. 24 You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. 25 And if you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your chisel on it, you will profane it. 26 And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it.’
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The Lord brought His people to His holy mountain. Moses was to remind the people of what the Lord had done for them and present His covenant proposal to them. If His people would obey His voice and keep this covenant, then they would continue to be His people, His own possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. The people responded by saying, “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do!”
The Lord instructed Moses to tell the people to get ready, to wash their garments, and to be ready for the third day. The Lord set boundaries for the people. They were to stay at the foot of the mountain. Moses went up to the mountain to meet with the Lord, and the Lord gave him the Ten Commandments.
Some people think that the Lord only gives suggestions. They believe they can pick and choose or change the Word of God. Those commandments given to Moses and the people were not suggestions to be debated but commands to be obeyed. His commandments show us how to love Him and love people. Today, we take part in the new covenant where the Lord rose on the third day and cleansed our garments with His blood. His commandments were not removed. Rather, they were fulfilled and empowered to mean not just the physical acts, but also the thoughts of the mind and intents of the heart (Matthew 5). Stay within His boundaries; use His commands as a lamp for your feet and a light to stay on His Ancient Paths.