Summary: The Gospel Drama continues to unfold with God speaking the Ten Commandments to His people at Mount Sinai. The first commandment shows the sovereign omnipresent character of Yahweh and points to Jesus visitation to come.
Exodus: The First Commandment and the Gospel Exodus 20:1-21
Last study we looked at the 10th plague inflicted upon the Egyptians, namely, the death of all the first born in the land. God graciously provided escape for His people by the Passover of the Lord. The blood of the perfect lambs which were shed and applied to the door posts of God’s people were spared from the curse of death and the Hebrews exited Egypt and miraculously were led across the Red Sea on dry ground. God redeemed His people by His mighty hand and all the hosts of Pharaoh were destroyed in the Red Sea just as God had destroyed all of His enemies in the days of Noah and the flood.
God first revealed Himself to Moses through the burning bush and revealed the essence of His Everlasting character through His name, Yahweh in Exodus 3. In Exodus 3:12, God promised to again bring Moses and God’s people to the same mountain of God, saying: "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain."
It is at this same place at Mount Horeb (or Mount Sinai) in the Sinai Peninsula that God appears again to His people in Exodus 20:
1 “And God (Elohim) spoke all these words, saying: 2 "I am the LORD (YHWH) your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy 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 Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. 8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (These first four commandments are the First table of the law; they define our relationship with God, Himself and explain in part the character of Yahweh (the LORD.)
Verse 12 (The fifth commandment begins the Second table of the law, the section of the Ten Commandments which deals with our relationship to our “neighbors”. They teach us about God’s moral laws for community.)(5th) "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. 13 (6th) You shall not murder. 14 (7th) You shall not commit adultery. 15 (8th)You shall not steal. 16 (9th) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 (10th) You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." 20 And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
What a terrifying privilege to have the Creator Sovereign Everlasting God (Yahweh) speak to you! This visitation by God is not fable or fantasy but fact. The same God who created all things powerfully and orderly in Genesis by the word of His mouth, speaks His everlasting law in Exodus 20. The same Yahweh who made a covenant with Abraham, then with Isaac and Jacob, this same God speaks again and gives His Law to all the people of Israel. This law would transcend both the Old and New Testaments.