Key Verse: “Now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
Deuteronomy 5:1-3; 10:12-17
TODAY’S LESSON BRINGS into remembrance the Law Covenant given to Israel by God through Moses as the mediator. “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. (Deut. 5:1-3) It reflected the divine requirements set forth for that nation to become a part of the seed of Abraham, which would ultimately bless all the families of the earth.—Gen. 22:15-18
Beginning in Exodus 24 and continuing through chapter 31, there is an account of Moses’ having ascended Mount Sinai to receive instructions for erecting a Tabernacle as well as the functions of the priesthood. God also inscribed on two stone tablets the Decalogue, known as the Ten Commandments.
As Moses prepared to descend with these laws for Israel, we read the following: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, … that I may consume them.”—Exod. 32:7-10
Exhibiting indignation after addressing the people, Moses cast down the tablets and broke them. Additionally, God plagued the people for their sin. (vss. 19,35) Moses ascended Mount Sinai a second time, took two tables of stone with him, and wrote the Ten Commandments as God commanded, remaining there for forty nights without food or water before returning to the people of Israel.—Exod. 34:1,27-29
The Book of Deuteronomy contains the final exhortations by Moses before his death, and summarizes many of Israel’s experiences during their forty years in the wilderness. Although their rebellion involving the golden calf was significant, God was merciful to his people as they prepared to enter the promised land of Canaan.—Deut. 10:10
Our Key Verse outlines the requirements for Israel to retain divine favor, including demonstrating reverential honor to God, walking righteously, serving him faithfully and obeying all of the Heavenly Father’s statutes as evidence of their sincere love for the Creator.
The Ten Commandments were given to Israel, but as aliens and strangers, Gentiles never were under the Mosaic Law. Through full consecration and acceptance by God, true Christians, Jew and Gentile alike, are under the provisions of a Covenant of grace. (Rom. 6:14) Additionally, it is a Covenant which includes sacrifice. “Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Ps. 50:5) To the Jew, the law was a “schoolmaster” to bring them to Christ. (Gal. 3:24) However, Paul indicates that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us who “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”—Rom. 8:4