The Ten Commandments — #01 THE BACKGROUND TO GOD’S LAW

Geoff Hohneck
The Ten Commandments
The Background to God’s Law
Exodus 19
8 January 2017

The Ten Commandments are much misunderstood today, and for that reason, Exodus 19 is vital to give us context and a proper understanding. 

The Lord makes an announcement to His people (v. 1 - 6). There is only one religion where God has made a covenant with His people, rather than men trying to find some way to first please Him. Grace in God's redemptive plan always precede His commands (Rom. 8:20). For this reason, He emphasises how He saved Israel out of Egypt, and then commands them to obey. Privileged relationships always carry responsibility! The covenant may be sure, but relationships only bloom as we respond appropriately. After all, we were redeemed by grace to worship!

The people prepare to meet with God (v. 7 - 15). They had to consecrate and set themselves apart, and the mountain, as that was holy. When God descended on Sinai, He commanded that the Israelites prepare themselves to meet Him. Today, we worship the same God, and we are not to treat Him casually, but to honour Him with reverence.

God introduces His sermon to His people (v. 16 - 25). He comes forth with trumpet and lightnings to make the importance of the event tangible and visible. He is telling all that He is big. We need reminding of this too, for we forget who He is. He is a consuming fire, Almighty, and invincible, and therefore we should fear Him. Drawing near to God is be a weighty thing. But where the creature becomes large in our eyes, the Creator loses His place. He is also telling us that mediation is is essential. Moses had to speak to God, and to the people, for the people could not approach God. In this, Moses foreshadows Christ, who spoke to God on behalf of the people, and to the people on behalf of God. As Jesus says in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me."