After miraculously rescuing the Israelites from out of the hand of Pharaoh and the Egyptians – and leading them across the Red Sea into the desert – we see God lead this newly freed gaggle of ex-slaves up to the base of Mt. Sinai – in the desert. It is there that God speaks to Moses and begins to give him the outlines of the future nation these people would become.

there is fire…

there is smoke…

there is thunder…

And then God begins to set Moses up with some details on how these people are to live from here on out. It begins with the Ten Commandments in chapter 20 – and then leads into the next 8 chapters of various laws and instructions on everything from how to dress to what to eat.

Which brings up an important question…

Why all of the rules?

At first glance – the next group of chapters involve rules that appear tedious and controlling. God instructs Moses to take a long list back down the mountain which will seemingly completely regulate every area of these people’s lives. Remember, these people are all ex-slaves, newly set free. Why would the same God who had just recently set them free – turn around and enslave them once again?

It doesn’t seem to make sense… when you look at it from the people’s point of view.

But if we look at it from God’s perspective we can see a different purpose.

These people have not been rescued by God so that they can become a elite group of “God-lovers”. They have been set up with a purpose in mind.. to become a kingdom of Priests and a holy nation. (Ex 19:6). They will serve as an example to the rest of the world what exactly it looks like to live life God’s way.

After 400 years in Egypt as slaves – these people had no idea what it meant to live free. They needed guidance – instruction – example. All around them were pagan nations which served other gods and had other customs, many of which were quite nasty. (For instance – the kingdom of Moab to the northwest worshipped the gods of Chamos and Ashtar. This worship involved, among other things, child sacrifice).

God certainly didn’t want them following that example!

So what can appear at first to be rules and regulations meant to control – are actually instructions on an entirely new way to live which will bring true freedom – not just for the Israelites – but eventually for the whole world.

God had bigger plans in mind!

Reading on, we see the continuing profession of love that God has for these people. In Ex 23:20-33 we see God reminding them of what will be in store for them if they obey the things He is telling them.

You shall serve the Lord your God; He shall bless your bread and water, and I will take sickness from your midst.Ex 23:25

Can you see the Promises which God gave to Abraham continuing to follow the people even all the way out here in the desert? God loves these people and has big plans for them – but the only way they can fully realize these plans is to obey Him in every step of the way.

And so it is with you and I…

Be Fruitful & Multiply,