For little children, a respect of our parents is mandatory.  We need to be protected by their wisdom, and obedience is key to our very survival.  A caring parent will motivate that obedience for our own good.  God does not want to leave us without understanding why we obey though.  He wants us to understand the good intentions of these rules.  Israel was ready for their first day in school.


In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.  For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.  Exodus 19:1-2


Freshly watered at the Rock of ages, and having a victory in battle, they moved on to a new location.  This was a mountain that would be pivotal in their history.


And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  Exodus 19:3-6


Israel has escaped into the wilderness to preserve the church and her unborn messiah.  Perhaps this is a type of the move that brought the church to the New World in North America too. 


And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Revelation 12:13-14


The words Moses will share will be the foundation of law for all ages to come.  His credibility will be established for all the people to hear.  But first he protects them from the fire of his holy presence. 


And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,  And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.  And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:  There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

Exodus 19:9-13


The glory of God was present in power on the mountain now. 


And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.  And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.  And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.

And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.  And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.  And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.  Exodus 19:18-24


Moses receives these spoken words from the Lord.  These words are not written in stone at this time yet.  A wise person should be able to accept correction with only a single word.  The words of God are all important, as Jesus later answered Satan’s temptations with the Word for every challenge.


Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:1-4


So God delivered this message to Moses and Israel:


And God spake all these words, saying,  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 


  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 
  6. Thou shalt not kill.  
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
  8. Thou shalt not steal. 
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. 


Exodus 20:1-17


While Moses received the message, the people only saw the light show that came with it.  God intended to put fear in them for their own protection.


And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.  And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.  Exodus 20:18-20


God now gives Moses an extensive list of rules for the domestic lives of his people.  They are instructed on how to settle differences and give fair judgment in disputes.  His first order will be the first one they disobey of course:


I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  Exodus 20:2-5


Men are admonished to be responsible for each other’s welfare.  Violence is to be punished.  Injury and property damage must be repaid in kind.  The worship of a false god was to result in the death of those guilty.  This was an iron set of laws. 


Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.  Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:  Exodus 23:1-2


They could not blame someone else for their sins either.  If you join them you will share their judgment.  Liars will stand by their own choices, and their own words.


I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.  And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.  I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.  By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.  And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.  Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.  They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.  Exodus 23:27-33


We still have commandments and words of instruction in the New Testament.  Yet too many want Christ and the worldly ways at the same time. 


Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, Titus 3:1


We can have strength and health by exercise, but some drugs are illegal.  We do not have the right to break the law to grow muscle.  You may win the Mr. Olympia competition on drugs, but you can’t win the high prize of faith that way.  You may also lose the gift of life at an early age as the price of fooling with nature.  Steroids are a harsh boundary on the mountain of God.


In case you are missing a point, remember that many students seek better grades by using illegal prescription drugs as well.  Good intentions do not assure good results.  We need strength and wisdom, not the illusion that our enemy provides.


Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Hebrews 12:1


We have many godly Christian examples who do great exploits without sin.  We can abandon not only the sin, but also the things that are not expedient for a great performance.  This is a race, and not just a sprint.  We need to run light and clean to make the marathon.  Our daily routine is a race for a high prize; a heavenly crown.  Is this incentive enough to make a little more effort? 


And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.   Galatians 6:9