Exodus 19 -24
Today we find out how the people of God became God’s chosen people.
Three months after the Israelites had left Egypt the people came to the Sanai Desert. They travelled through the desert and put up their tents at the base of Mount Sanai. This is when Moses went up the mountain to meet with God.
God told Moses that He had chosen the Israelites to be His own people. However, before they could meet God, they had to purify themselves by washing their clothes and themselves. This is when God told Moses to mark a line at the base of Mount Sanai that the people should not cross. The people waited patiently at the foot of Mount Sanai for God to speak to them. Early in the morning on the third day the people were awakened by thunder and lightening and the sound of a very loud trumpet. They were really afraid of these noises.
Moses led them out of the camp to meet God. They couldn’t see anything because the whole of Mount Sanai was covered with smoke as the Lord God came down on it in fire. Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The people trembled because they knew that God was near.
God called Moses to the top of the mountain and told Moses that the people were not allowed to come up Mount Sanai because it was a holy mountain. Should the people disobey God and come up the mountain they would be punished.
Then Moses and Aaron went up the mountain and God gave them a set of ten laws that the people were to live by. These laws are known as the Ten Commandments. These are the very same laws we obey today.
Worship no God but me.
Do not make idols of anything and worship it.
Treat my name with respect
The seventh day of the week is to be kept as a day of rest – a Holy day.
Show respect to your father and mother.
Do not kill another human being
Husbands and wives must be loyal to one another
Do not steal
Do not tell lies
Do not long for other people’s things.
Moses explained to the people how they were to live accordingly to these commandments in their daily lives. The people agreed to obey the laws. God told Moses that God would write the laws on stone tablets. Moses went up the mountain to receive the laws.
Moses was away on the mountain for such a long period of time that the people became restless and disobedient. They forgot all about what they had promised God. They decided to build a golden calf to worship.
God was so angry when He saw that the people had built a golden calf to worship. When Moses saw the calf he threw down the stone tablets containing the law and they broke into hundreds of pieces. Then he destroyed the golden calf.
Moses still loved the people and he asked God to forgive them and give them a second chance. So, God wrote the laws again on stone tablets and gave them to Moses. This time the people listened to Moses as he explained the laws to them.
The agreement that God made with the Israelites is known as a ‘Covenant’. (the people agreed to obey God and God agreed to make them His people).
Next week we are going to talk about the Ten Commandments. We are also going to look at the fact that Jesus brought us a new Commandment to love one another. We are going to think about what this means.
Revd Peta May