God called His people to be separate and to obey Him. Moses is in the beginning of revisiting the rules and regulations Israel is to live by.
The place to start is at the beginning. While in Egypt Israel relied on the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They lived through the relationship of their ancestors as their connection to God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob passed on the promises through the generations but none had encountered God in some time. This changed with the generation God brought out of Egypt.
Moses experienced God first hand. He spoke with God on a daily basis. He followed His commands in bringing the people out of Egypt. He urged the people to follow wherever God led. And he called them all together to personally experience God’s presence at Horeb.
God spoke from the mountaintop. He gave the people a choice. They could choose Him or reject Him. IF they chose to follow Him they would have standards and rules they would have to live by. BUT with obedience to His rules and standards came GREAT reward. The whole assembly agreed to His terms and He began to instruct Moses as to the details. Moses would pass that information on to them.
We know the back story of what went on while Moses was receiving those first instructions. The people chose to seek another god. This disobedience almost cost them their lives but God listened to Moses’ pleas for them.
Now after wandering for 40 years in the wilderness because of disobedience Moses emphasizes the need to hold fast to God’s rules. God didn’t make some senseless set of restrictions to confuse the people. He set down a set of laws that was well considered and wise. These instructions were for the benefit of the people. Obedience to these laws would ALWAYS result in good.
God said that other nations would recognize these laws as good also. A prime example of this is that EVERY nation and people use these same principles in their laws. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not lie about your neighbor. Honor your mother and father. They also include an order to respect and obey the ones in command. Obedience to these rules is required.
Moses gives a STRONG warning to this generation that they too must follow these laws, even after they receive the Promised Land from God. If they wish to continue receiving His good gifts, they must obey His statutes. They cannot have one without the other.
We cannot have one without the other either. We are not bound to the specific details in the law but we are bound to honor the spirit of it. The Ten Commandments still stand. They are still the BEST way to live. And obedience still brings with it reward. Following the commandments isn’t what results in salvation but it is evidence of a life spent following the One who purchased that salvation for us. The rewards are an added bonus from society and from God.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. No need to fear reprisal when you adhere to the rules.
Father God, I know there are times I have strayed from Your commandments. No. I haven’t killed anyone but my anger has been just as damning. I know I have told MORE than my share of lies. For all of these sins I’m grateful for Your forgiveness and mercy. For any of them that I didn’t confess and ask for You forgiveness earlier, please forgive me now. Thank You that I can bring my heart to You and ask to be restored. I pray my life will reflect a heart steeped in obedience. It wasn’t always the case but I’m praying it is from here on out. Help me daily grow closer to the standards You set up. Help me be more like Jesus as He IS the Standard. I want to be so much like Him that I disappear and all anyone sees is Him.
Lord Jesus, help me grow closer to You with each breath. Teach me to walk in Your footsteps. Teach me the obedience that comes from a deep relationship with You. Not out of a self-serving motive but out of love. Love me right into line!