This short chapter of the Bible is probably the most amazing of all Bible chapters. It contains miraculous drama of the highest quality ever. God speaking from a mountain top to over a million trembling Israelites with Moses mediating between God and the people. It is exactly where we find the 10 commandments of God. Exodus 20 is not the first dramatic revealing of the power & majesty of God. The book of Genesis has plenty of the earliest miracles, but the Exodus has to be among the best revelations of God’s glory & power. He identified Himself in a way that would get the early Israelite’s attention – 10 plagues on Egypt, parting of Red Sea, then Mt. Sinai & the 10 commandments from “thundering and the lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking” (Exodus 20:18) & voice of God from the sky.
It’s interesting what God had to say: (1) No other gods (2) No idols – God even says He is jealous & will curse & or bless folks for violating or complying. (3) No using God’s name in vain. (4) Keep the Sabbath day holy – 6 day creation is confirmed in this commandment (5) Honor father & mother (6) No murder (7) No adultery (8) No stealing (9) No Lying (10) Don’t covet neighbors stuff. Exodus 20:1-17 It’s also interesting that scripture explains WHY in the same chapter – “Moses said . . . Do not fear; for God has come to prove you, and that the fear of him may be before your eyes, that you may not sin.” Exodus 20:20 (Sin & its consequences are right here in the 10 commandments chapter, especially verse 5 dealing with one’s posterity.)
Now today it is commonly believed that God is just loving & kind hearted & not harsh at all, and the strict 10 commandments are just ancient myth. Of course the New Testament does reveal a Jesus who is LOVE & GRACE incarnate. If J.C. is God in the flesh (and He is), then WHY the CONTRAST?? The Old Testament/Covenant reveals the power & authority & standards & judgment side of God’s nature. In Moses’ time God was shown more as a strict father who smashed adversaries & trouble makers “like a bug”. (see Numbers 16) Strictness & power were necessary to establish the new nation of Israel, and stress the importance of accountability to God. The New Testament/Covenant reveals the Son of God who is/becomes the kind hearted “mediator between God & man.” (John 3:14; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). This mediator dies for our sins. He shows the love & grace side of God’s nature. Neither Old or New Covenants are complete w/o the message of the other. And since the resurrection of J. C. we are all (Jew & Gentile) accountable to the God of the Old & New Testament scriptures.
Today there are people who say “I go only by the commandments of Moses. Well that’s fine & good, but the law of Moses came with hundreds of OTHER rules that made it VERY tough to comply with. And to be Divinely endorsed even then required perfect performance, which was/is impossible. (see “The Endorsement” link 15.)
- Galatians 3:10 “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.”
- Romans 7:6 “Now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”
J.C. fulfills the LAW in his person & atonement for sins. Now we can have a personal relationship & know his character of fairness, justice, truth, love, mercy, GRACE, etc. – what the whole Old & New Covenants are getting at. It’s not that the old moral code has been canceled. Now it’s this: “This is my commandment, that you love one another. . . you are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14 (For no extra charge, that’s the 11th commandment, & the first 10 are still valid).
Well besides the miraculous of Exodus 20 in the Old Testament, we have J.C. in the New Testament. He is the most amazing miracle of the Bible. Being God in the flesh, AND dying for our sin – that’s ABOVE & BEYOND any miracle, if you think about it. Choose Jesus, He is alive.
Many other Titles: www.gospelnotes.net – link 1 is Index * * F. J. Stone * *