Last week, we saw God provide for his people. This evening, we will see God giving to his people again. The Israelites are still in the Wilderness and God is now revealing more of his goodness glory (This is God’s magnificence and beauty, effectively the stuff that makes him godlike) to his people. This time God is not giving food, but instead he is giving laws to live by. The Laws show how to live both before God but also with each other.
- If someone asked you how to summarise living a good life what would you tell them?
- What kind of God has the Lord revealed himself to be so far?
The Ten Commandments
And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.The Bible (NIV)
- God frees the Isrealites before giving them the law, why do you think God does it in this order?
- God describes himself as a Jealous God, why is that?
- Why do you think God wants complete devotion to him?
- God makes it clear no one is to misuse his name, why do you think he makes it so clear?
- You may want to remind yourself of God’s name from study 1 and what it means
- God lists these rules before any others, why do you think they come first in the list?
- What does it tell us about how God envisions the society of Israel to behave?
Exodus 20 continued…
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving 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 neighbour. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”The Bible (NIV)
Covet- yearn to possess (something, especially something belonging to another). Adultery- voluntary sex between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.
- Why do you think the Sabbath is so important?
- How easily do you find to take a complete day off?
- Do you think any of these commandments are unrealistic or unfair?
In the gospel of Mark 12:29-31 Jesus summarised the Law like this:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.The Bible (NIV)
- Do you agree with this summary?
- Do you think its easy to follow these two seemingly simple commandments?
Exodus 20 continued…
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Idols and Altars
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honoured, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’The Bible (NIV)
- From what we have seen so far of God, would you be fearful of him speaking to you?
- If not why do you think the Israelites were so fearful?
- Would you rather have a mediator between you and God or would you want God to speak to you directly?
- Why do you think the fear of God is described as keeping the Israelites from sin?
- Why do you think God is against idols made out of materials?
- Do you think there are modern day idols that compete with God that we prioritise?
The law was always meant to point to something greater, something ahead of time even greater than the law offered in Exodus. When Jesus came down to earth to be with us the Exodus law changed.
- What changed when Jesus came?
- How does he fulfil the law?
- How does faith in Jesus impact the way we live and why?
In the past, maybe God’s rules and regulations have seemed unnecessary for you, or not needed. Ask God this week to make it clear why we need his order in our lives.
Thank God that in Christ the law has been fulfilled and that we might live lives that are still honouring to him.
You may feel like you don’t understand God’s glory. This week ask God to reveal more of his glory to you, even if it seems a little scary, ask God to reveal more of himself to you.
Pray this week that you will also find time to rest. This week try to have one complete day off from work and try doing some things that you enjoy.