When God Gave the Law to Moses

A Summary of the Word of God from Exodus 19-33

God called to Moses from Mt. Sinai and said, “Say this to the people: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-6, ESV).

So Moses said this to the people, and they said, “We’ll do it!” Then, Moses told God that the people were in. As a result, God brought Moses up Mt. Sinai to reveal to him what it meant for the people to be covenant and kingdom people.

God gave them ten main rules to follow, and eventually dozens others. He said, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, from the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:1, my translation).

1. Don’t have any gods except for me.
2. Don’t make, worship, or serve idols.
3. Don’t utter my name falsely.
4. Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy.
5. Honor your mom and dad.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. Don’t covet your neighbor’s stuff.

God spoke these things to Moses, while the people stood far off yet close enough to hear.

After that God called Moses to the top of the Mountain, where he received the law from God. He took with him, Joshua, his helper, told the elders to wait until he got back, and started up the mountain. He was gone for a total of 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain, where God gave him two tablets of stone with the law written on it.

Meanwhile, the people realized that Moses was gone for a while, so they made an idol out of all their jewelry from Egypt, a cast metal calf. Then, some said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt” (Exod 32:4, my translation).

God saw that they had done this and became angry. He wanted to destroy them and start from scratch with Moses, but Moses reminded God of the patriarchs to whom he’d made a vow. God listened to him and relented.

Well, when Moses went down and saw for himself what Israel had done, he got angry, too. He broke the tablets God had given him on the ground. Then, he took the calf idol they had made, burned it up with fire, ground it into powder, threw it onto the water, and made the people drink the water. He was angry.

After Moses confronted Aaron about it all, because he was in charge, and had had one night to sleep on it, he told the people that they had sinned a great sin, but that he would try to work it out with God.

God listened to Moses, but said that he would blot out all the names from his book of those who had sinned, and he sent a plague on them.

Yet God remained faithful to his promise to the people. He said that he’d send an angel with them so they could conquer the land, but that he wouldn’t go with them. Moses did not like this new plan, so he asked God, if they could talk.