Reading: Exodus 19:1-4 and 20:1 and 2.
Israel arrives at Mt Sinai. There for 12 months God instructs Israel in His divine classroom. They receive the written law, its explanation and application. On God’s instruction Israel also builds the tabernacle and brings it into service.
God is very gentle. He does not immediately give Israel the law; that will discourage and frighten some people, for who can perfectly keep God’s law? Earlier incidents show some Israelites are spiritually lazy and sleepy; others are proud and rebellious. They rather live in their own ways. So many people are unprepared to receive the holy law, so God first prepares the Israelites by making them teachable, humble and attentive.
First God shows His authority. The LORD tells Moses to say to Israel “I am the LORD your God”. Here Israel is reminded that God has created everything, including the Israelites themselves; He is the King of all. He is even King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15). He has great authority and the right to legislate His law and demand obedience.
God also teaches Israel to be thankful. God says “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians” (vs 4) and “I … brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (20:2). Israel witnessed the great miracles and plagues God did in Egypt. He delivered Israel out of slavery and saved them from death. God’s sword passed over them when He saw the blood of Passover. Later God carried them on eagles’ wings (vs 4). When a baby eagle learns to fly the mother swoops down when necessary, catches the baby and returns it to the nest. Similarly God watches over Israel and, when necessary, carries Israel back to safety. Through all these things, says God, I “brought you to Myself”. Israel did not ask to be God’s people, but God had compassion on them. Israel should therefore be very thankful, and gladly and willingly obey His Law.
Key text: Ex 19:4 “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
Question: What do you learn about God in this passage?