God’s covenant with Israel

Published 7:42 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

Scripture: Exodus 20:1-26

Aim: To instruct the pupil regarding God’s giving the Law to the Israelites.

Golden Text: “…Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.” (Exodus 20:22b-23)

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Israel had been captive in Egypt for four hundred years. In that time they had encountered, and many lived by, the gods of the land of Egypt. As in all other lands, Egypt was filled with idols and idol worship. The very fact that the Israelite people of Moses’ day had been born, reared, and lived as slaves meant that a great change must take place in order for the people of Israel to become the “people of God”.

Jacob had moved his family, the twelve sons, the tribes of Israel with the entire families, to Egypt to live in time of wide spread famine in the whole Middle East. Jacob moved there because Joseph was the ruler of Egypt. In the years that followed, the Egyptians made slaves out of the Israelites. Israel was in Egypt for four hundred years! That is longer than most nations survive.

Jehovah God called and sent Moses and Aaron to deliver the people from Egyptian captivity. After much contention with the leaders of Egypt the people of Israel left Egypt. There was a group of perhaps over a million people who were traveling through the wilderness. They were fleeing from Egypt on the promise that Jehovah God was leading Moses and Aaron to bring them to a land which was flowing with “milk and honey.”

All this was a great change from the stability of living in a land of security, even as slaves. In order to educate and orient the people in the worship and service of the only true God, Jehovah God, the people were led to Mt. Sinai and given the Law of God as a guideline for their new life in a new land, Palestine.

I. Jehovah God identifies Himself to the Israelites (Exodus 20:1).

He is the true God. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), the fathers of the people of Israel. God led the Israelites to Mt. Sinai in order to give them the “charter for the nation of Israel”, the Law of Moses, which are the laws of God for all men. Jehovah brought Israel out of bondage.

II. Jehovah gives the ten commandments to the Israelites (Exodus 20:3-17).

The ten commandments were divided into two groups. The first group were commands regarding the people’s relationship with God. They were the first four commandments. There were to be no other gods to take the place of Jehovah (vs. 3). The people must not make any “graven” image and bow down to it.

They must serve Jehovah only and alone (vs. 4-6). They were to revere the name of God and not use it lightly or in a any kind of curse (vs. 7). The fourth commandment regards the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week). This day was to be holy and was to be set apart wholly unto Jehovah and His worship (vs. 8-11).

The fifth through the tenth commandments were designed to control the actions of men regarding one another. They must always “honour thy and thy mother” with a promise of long life for those who do so (vs. 12). They must not kill others (vs.13).

They must revere the marriage relationship and not be guilty of committing sexual sins (vs. 14). They must not take things which belong to someone else, no stealing (vs. 15). They must not lie to, or about, any one or any thing (vs. 16).

Finally, they must not covet (have a strong desire with the thought of obtaining the thing desired) the neighbor’s house, wife, servant, possessions, or any thing that belongs to someone else (vs. 17).

The people were to follow, worship, and serve Jehovah God. In this would be their blessing and success in life (vs. 18-26).