In worship we’ve continued to follow the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness. And they have finally arrived at Mount Sinai where they will hear from God.
And the first thing God speaks to them is the familiar passage that we simply call the Ten Commandments. But to separate these words from the rest of the story is to miss their purpose.
Because the story of the Israelites, beginning when they were slaves in Egypt reveals a God who personally interacts with Israel throughout every stage of their journey. God meets them at the Red Sea. God provides manna and water for them. God calls them.
It’s about relationship.
So now, as we come to Exodus 20, we hear God’s direct instructions to Israel. Here God tells the people what it means to live as a holy nation, as God’s chosen people, as a people set apart.
And the question is why? Why does God call the Israelites to live this way?
The answer has a lot to do with God’s intention for calling them in the first place. God wants them to be a light to the nations. It’s all about getting the other nations to ask questions, to notice that Israel is different.
And so, in response to what God has already done, they can do nothing other than obey.
Obedience isn’t about earning redemption or even earning God’s favor, but it is about living in response to what God has already done.
The commandments in Exodus 20 are for an already called, already chosen, and already redeemed community. That was established before they were given the Ten Commandments. But now God explains to that same community what it means to be God’s chosen people, to be a community rooted in worship of God and living in justice and peace with one another.
Our obedience is the same, it is always a response to God. Our salvation is already accomplished in Jesus Christ, and now we’re now invited to a new way of life, a new way of being in this world. And our way of life in the world is meant to show the love of God to the world.
Grace and peace,