The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), February 7
A community without rules is like a prison full of dangerous criminals turned loose. No one feels safe in a community without rules or fences.
Imagine 2.5 million people living together in community without laws, rules, and regulations to guide their behavior. God brings Israel out of Egypt and immediately begins to form them into community and gives them rules to guide their behavior. He takes Moses up on Mount Sinai and gives him laws. First, He gives Israel the ten commandments, which are divided into two sections: spiritual and social. Spiritual, because men are sinners, and God is holy. He will not be treated as others treat their gods. Social, because they are sinners whose natural selfishness will implode a community. Later, God gives them further instructions regarding worship, economics, and annual celebrations.
The Ten Commandments cannot save men, but they do the following:
- Regulate human behavior by establishing boundaries that protect men from acting out of their natural selfish inclinations and hurting themselves and others. They also demonstrate man’s inclination toward corrupt worship.
- Reveal human depravity and man’s need of salvation.
- Reflect the holiness of God, His desire for community, and His standard of righteousness.
Rules are powerless to save people from their sins, but they are beneficial in that they regulate communal life (though they don’t prevent sin) and demonstrate man’s need of redemption.
Questions from today’s reading (Exodus 20:1-22:15):
How does God reveal His care for women and the marginalized in the laws that He gives at Mount Sinai?
How does God reveal His concern for interpersonal relationships in the laws that He gives at Mount Sinai?
What does the giving of communal laws reveal about human nature?