From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/16:

Today the Lord continues to teach the Israelites how to come to Him through the sacrificial system to atone for their sins, and He starts with the priests because they are sinners just like everyone else. We learned in Exodus 28 that the Lord chose the Levites to serve as priests and to do the work of the tabernacle. Today the Lord dedicates the Levites through ceremonial cleansing and sacrificial offerings. God says to Moses, “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine.” 

Remember during the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, the Lord consecrated all the firstborn of Israel to Himself (Exodus 13:11-16). Today the Lord tells Moses that the Levites “are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel. For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them to Myself. I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when the children of Israel come near the sanctuary.”

The Lord is substituting the Levites in place of the firstborn of Israel. This is called the principle of substitution, the principle first seen illustrated by the Passover in Egypt. There a spotless lamb died in place of the firstborn of each household under the blood of a lamb. It is also a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, who is coming to die as the final substitute. Jesus will willingly lay down His life and shed His innocent blood in substitution for our lives. When we enter the Divided Kingdom Era, we will meet a prophet named Isaiah who will speak of the coming Lamb to be slain for us – “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). But for now, the Levites will serve as priests until Jesus arrives on the scene as our Great High Priest.

After dedicating the Levites, God gives instructions regarding offerings. The book of Leviticus describes five major offerings: burnt, grain, peace, sin, and guilt.

Burnt Offering – underscores prayers of petition and praise 

Grain Offering – pleasing aroma; often mirrors emphasis of the offering it accompanies

Peace Offering – fellowship with the Lord by having a communion meal

Sin Offering – atonement of a committed sin, metaphor of purification 

Guilt Offering – atonement of a committed sin; metaphor of compensation for wrongdoing

(Summary of the offerings came from the ESV Study Bible) 

We also read about the priests being presented through a wave offering. A wave offering is when the offering is literally held in the hand and waved in the air to acknowledge the Lord and to show that the offering is for Him. 

Today, the children of Israel celebrate the second Passover as the Lord instructed the Israelites to do annually in remembrance of what He did for them when He brought them out of Egypt. However, thirty nine years will pass before the children of Israel celebrate another Passover like this one. Keep reading to find out why. (Numbers 8:1-9:14, Leviticus 1:1-3:17)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/15:

After Moses anointed and consecrated the tabernacle and all of the items inside it, the leaders of the tribes of Israel made offerings. “And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered carts and twelve oxen, a cart for every two of the leaders, and for each one an ox; and they presented them before the tabernacle.”

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Accept these from them, that they may be used in doing the work of the tabernacle of meeting; and you shall give them to the Levites, to every man according to his service.’” The Levites are responsible for the care and transportation of the tabernacle. The Lord will divide the Levite tribe into Levitical clans. Each Levitical clan – the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites from the three sons of Levi – Kohath, Gershon, and Merari (Genesis 11) – will be assigned particular responsibilities and care for the Tabernacle. Moses and his siblings, Aaron and Miriam, are descendants of Kohath (1 Chronicles 6:2-3). The Lord has assigned Aaron and his sons as priests, but the other Levites are also assigned work for the tabernacle. Today Moses gives to the Levites – “Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service; and four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari, according to their service, under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because theirs was the service of the holy things, which they carried on their shoulders.” 

The Lord will further explain the duties of each Levitical clan in Numbers 4. But in simple terms, the Kohathites will be responsible for carrying the holy items of the sanctuary, the Gershonites will carry the sanctuary coverings, and the Merarites will carry the pillars, frames, pegs, bases, and cords for the tent of meeting. The Kohathites are not given oxen because the holy things of the tabernacle are to be carried on poles on their shoulders. We will learn that the Kohathites have a very high pressure job because if they even touch the holy items that will be covered by Aaron and his sons, they will die (Numbers 4:15). The fact that they will die if they touch the holy items highlights God’s holiness and our need for a mediator. Aaron and his sons will serve as the temporary mediators before the arrival of Jesus Christ, the final Mediator.

Moses then takes up a second offering. The Lord tells Moses that the twelve leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel are to bring gifts, one each day for twelve days, with all bringing exactly the same gifts. So let’s break down the twelve tribes of Israel because if Jacob had twelve sons and the Levites aren’t supposed to be counted among the twelve tribes, how do we still have twelve tribes? Remember on Jacob’s deathbed he told Joseph that his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, would be like his own (Genesis 48:5). So here is a list in the order mentioned in today’s reading:

Levi – Leah’s son (not counted)

1) Judah – Leah’s son

2) Issachar – Leah’s son

3) Zebulun – Leah’s son

4) Reuben – Leah’s son

5) Simeon – Leah’s son

6) Gad – Leah’s servant’s son

7) Ephraim – Joseph’s son, Rachel’s grandson 

8) Manasseh – Joseph’s son, Rachel’s grandson 

9) Benjamin – Rachel’s son

10) Dan – Rachel’s servant’s son

11) Asher – Leah’s servant’s son

12) Naphtali – Rachel’s servant’s son

Tomorrow the children of Israel celebrate their second Passover, so keep reading. (Numbers 7:1-89)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/14:

A year after the exodus from Egypt, “all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished… Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them.” Doesn’t that remind you of God? How He is always assessing His creation? Remember in the beginning of the story, after God created, He would assess His creation and say “it was good.” And after God created man, He “saw everything that He has made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). But ten generations after Adam, the first man created, God looked upon His creation again and had a completely different assessment – “So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:12). Then the Lord sent a flood to destroy everything except Noah and his wife, his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives, two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal who entered the ark. The Lord provided a way for salvation. However, only eight people were saved by grace through their faith in God. The flood wiped out unrepentant sinners, but it did not wipe out sin. And since the Lord still desires to be with His people, He has to provide a way for a Holy God to dwell amongst sinful people.

At this point in the story, priests will shed animal blood to atone for the sins of the people, as the Lord demonstrated with Adam and Eve in the garden after the fall, and the Lord will dwell among His people in the portable tabernacle. Today the glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle  – “For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” The Lord guides His people through the raising and lowering of a cloud over the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud is taken up, the children of Israel journey. “Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.”

The Lord is teaching His people to trust and obey Him while He is working His plan of providing the Ultimate Way through Jesus Christ. The tabernacle is an earthly model of heaven and a foreshadowing of Christ to come to fulfill the plan of salvation. Later in the story, the author of Hebrews is going to explain that after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven – “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:1-6). 

Tomorrow the tribes of Israel make offerings to the Lord. Keep reading. (Exodus 39:32-40:38, Numbers 9:15-23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/13:

Bezalel builds the furniture for the tabernacle, which includes the ark of the covenant. The ark will hold the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, the pot of manna (Exodus 16:33-34), and Aaron’s budding rod (Numbers 17:10-11). On top of the ark is the mercy seat where the Lord said “there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat” (Exodus 25:22). 

God will show His mercy when the blood of sacrificial animals is sprinkled on the mercy seat, atoning for the sins of the people. Remember that the sacrificial system in the Old Testament points to the arrival of the Ultimate Sacrifice, Jesus Christ. In Greek, the word for “mercy seat” is “hilasterion,” which translates into “propitiation” in the New Testament. According to Wikipedia, “propitiation is the act of appeasing or making well-disposed a deity, thus incurring divine favor or avoiding divine retribution.” And why is this significant? Later in the story John, a disciple of Jesus, will say, “if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). And after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we will meet Paul, who will say “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).

The mercy seat points to the coming Savior whose blood will be shed as the final sacrifice to restore whomever believes in Him to His Father. But in the meantime, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest will enter the Most Holy Place and sacrifice animals to atone for the sins of the people per the Lord’s instructions – “This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year” (Leviticus 16:34). We will read more about the Day of Atonement soon. 

Tomorrow the glory of the Lord is going to fill the tabernacle, so keep reading! (Exodus 37:1-39:31)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/12:

Moses tells the people all the Lord commanded and asks the ones with a willing heart to bring offerings to the Lord. God desires for His people to have a willing heart to be with Him and obey Him. This has been His desire since the beginning of the story in the garden with Adam and Eve. However, Adam and Eve chose not to obey God’s word, bringing sin into the world and causing all of us to inherit this sin problem. Now the Lord is making a place where a holy God can meet with sinful people. “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart.”

The Lord has gifted people for the completion of building and carrying out all that He has commanded regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. Moses proves to be a godly leader by listening to the Lord and assigning the people for the task at hand based on their God-given skills and abilities –  “‘And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded.’ Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.” 

When the work of the Lord is handled properly by leaders, people joyfully complete the work together. Individuals are more willing to give to something they are included in building, like the Israelites. The Israelites are so joyful in building the tabernacle that they provide an overabundance of work—so much so that Moses tells them, “‘Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.’ And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” 

Did you notice that the Lord gifts both men and women for the work of the Lord’s tabernacle? So everyone is happily using their gifts and working together as “the church.” But there is more work to be done, so keep reading. (Exodus 35:1-36:38)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/11:

Moses has been at the top of Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights receiving the Ten Commandments, as well as instructions regarding the tabernacle and the priests. “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’”  So Aaron, the one who should be leading the people to worship the Lord, makes a molded calf to please the people, and he builds an altar before it, where the people worship the golden calf and engage in sexual immorality. 

Since the Lord sees everything, He tells Moses to go down from the mountain because the people have corrupted themselves. The Lord says He wants to consume these stiff-necked people and make Moses a great nation without them. However, Moses intercedes for the people and the Lord relents. 

When Moses comes down with the stone tablets, he finds the people engaging in pagan rituals, including orgies, worshiping the golden calf. Out of anger, Moses casts down the stone tablets and breaks them. Then he turns the calf into powder and makes the children of Israel drink it. When Moses questions Aaron, Aaron blames the people saying they made him make the calf. Aaron says he took their gold and cast it in the fire and out popped this calf. But the truth is that Aaron made the golden calf for the people because he was more concerned with pleasing the crowd than pleasing the Lord. And since sin against God always has consequences, the Levites team up with Moses and the Lord, and they kill about three thousand people who continued in their idolatry without repentance. 

Then Moses goes back to the Lord to intercede for the people once again – “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will, forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” Moses offers his life for the guilty sinners, but God doesn’t require Moses to give his life. God is sending His Son to do for the people what Moses can not, to live a perfect life and to be the perfect final Sacrifice. But God does say, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” The Lord is not going to judge the nation as a whole, but He will judge individuals. So God sends a plague on the people and tells Moses He will send an Angel to go before them into the promised land because God can not be in the presence of these stiff-necked people! But Moses refuses to go without the Lord. The Lord ultimately honors Moses’ request to continue with them and says to Moses, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Moses goes back up Mount Sinai another forty days and forty nights with two new stone tablets. God tells Moses to instruct the people to destroy the pagan altars, break the sacred pillars, and cut down the wooden images when they enter the promised land – “for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

Did the children of Israel learn their lesson against idolatry with the golden calf incident? Keep reading to find out. (Exodus 32:1-34-35)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/10:

Today the Lord gives very specific instructions for the seven day process of consecrating the priests. As part of the ritual, the priests are to have the blood of a slaughtered animal placed on the right ear, right thumb, and right toe. Commentaries say that the blood on the ear covers the priest for the hearing of His word, the blood on the thumb covers the priest for the labor for the Lord, and the blood on the toe covers the priest for walking in His ways. 

After the consecration of the priests, the priests are to continue offering daily sacrifices, morning and evening – “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you… I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them.”

God also gives instructions for building the incense altar – “And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you.” The Lord says Aaron should burn incense every morning and evening as a “perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” The altar of incense also symbolizes the prayers from the children of God. When we enter the Kingdom Era, King David is going to cry out to the Lord – “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalms 141:2). At the end of the story, in the End Times/ New Beginnings Era, John will write about a vision of heaven he receives from the Lord where Jesus, the Lamb, is being worshiped – “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8, 8:3). The altar of incense is also where, once a year on the Day of Atonement, Aaron is to anoint the horns of the altar of incense with blood from the atoning sacrifice. We will read more about the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. The Lord goes on to say that you shall not offer strange incense on the incense altar. Soon in the story, Aaron’s sons are going to disobey God by offering profane incense, resulting in a disastrous outcome. 

After the Lord gives Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, we read that the Lord has also gifted certain people to complete the task. The Lord says, “I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” So the Lord not only gives us works to complete, He also gives us all that we need to complete those works. 

The last instruction He gives today regards the Sabbath – “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” Soon in the story, someone is going to disobey this instruction as well, also resulting in a disastrous outcome. And later in the story, the Pharisees are going to turn this day of intended rest for the people into an overwhelming burden for the people with their extra laws. So Jesus will rebuke the Pharisees saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Jesus knows that God’s laws are intended to help His people and point them to their need for a Savior, not burden them.

The reading ends with the Lord giving the tablets of Testimony to Moses – “And when He has made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” But what were the people doing while Moses was on the mountain? We will find out tomorrow, so keep reading. (Exodus 29:1-31:18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/9:

Today the Lord tells Moses to ask the children of Israel to bring supplies for the building of the tabernacle – “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering… And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” God loves a joyful giver who gives willingly from his heart. Paul is going to confirm later in the story when he writes to the Corinthians – “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

The Lord gives Moses instructions for the tabernacle, the portable temple, which is broken down into three sections: the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. The outer court is where the sacrifices will be offered. The Holy Place will contain three items: 1) a table for the showbread, 2) a lampstand with seven lamps, and 3) the altar of incense (in tomorrow’s reading). The Most Holy Place will contain the ark, and on top of the ark will be the mercy seat. The Lord says, “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” We will learn more about the ark and the mercy seat in a few days.

Then the Lord selects Aaron and his sons to “minister to Me as priest”, and He gives specific instructions for their priestly clothing called the ephod. As part of the instructions the priests are to place stones on both their shoulders and on the breastplate of judgment with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved in the stones. The Lord instructs the priests to be properly dressed “when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die.” Therefore, the priests will wear bells around the hem of their robes so the people on the outside of the tabernacle can hear the sound of the bells ringing and know that the priests are properly dressed and performing the sacred rites on their behalf.

The Lord is working His redemption plan through Jacob’s sons, the twelve tribes of Israel. Through these tribes, the Lord will magnify His Holy Name and keep alive His promise of the Savior to come. One day the people will not have to carry around a portable temple. One day the people will be the temple – “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Later in the story, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, He will pour the Holy Spirit upon the believers, making their bodies the temple. But for now, the Lord has chosen the tabernacle as His meeting place while we await the arrival of our Savior. 

Keep reading to see how the tabernacle will become a temple building, and then Christ will come and buy His people with His blood making our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit. (Exodus 25:1-28:43)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/8:

God gives further instructions regarding the care of His people, who would normally be overlooked by society: virgins, strangers, widows, and orphans. He also tells the people that three times a year they should keep these three annual feasts: in the spring, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), in the summer, the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost), and in the autumn, the Feast of Ingathering (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles). These feasts will be further explained in Leviticus 23.

Then the Lord says to His people that an Angel will go before them to bring them into the place the Lord has prepared for them. He instructs the people to obey the Angel, and if they obey, the Lord will be an “enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” God says He will cut off all the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and the Jebusites and drive them out of the land. However, “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.” Once again, the Lord promises to act on behalf of the Israelites, but it is not going to be a quick and easy process. 

God instructs the Israelites to obey His commands when they enter the promised land – “For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” The Lord warns the people not to make covenants with the people around them nor serve their gods because He knows this will lead to their destruction. Remember what happened when Seth’s descendants, who were calling upon the name of the Lord, began intermarrying with Cain’s descendants who were walking outside the presence of the Lord? Their hearts turned from the Lord to evil and wickedness, which led to their destruction by the flood. 

God desires for His people to obey His instructions because He knows His instructions are for their good. He also knows that there are severe consequences that come with disobedience. So when Moses relays all of the Lord’s instructions to the people, they say “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.” But will they really? Keep reading to find out. (Exodus 22:16-24:18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 2/7:

Today the children of Israel receive the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are basically a summary of the over six hundred commandments given in the Old Testament. The first four of the Ten Commandments relate to our relationship with the Lord, and the last six commandments relate to our relationship with one another. The purpose of the commandments is 1) for the people to realize their own sin, 2) to protect us from ourselves and each other, 3) to show God’s grace and mercy, and 4) to further reveal God’s holiness. No one can perfectly keep the commandments except the One to come, Jesus Christ. The Ten Commandments point us to our need for a Savior as Galatians 3:24 says –  “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” 

The Lord instructs Moses to say to the children of Israel, “You shall not make anything to be with Me – gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves. An altar of the earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen.” God is making a way for His people to have a relationship with Him, but they must approach the Lord His way, through a blood sacrifice and trusting in the promise that He made in Genesis 3:15, that He is sending a Savior. It is our faith in the Lord that pleases Him as Hebrews 11:6 says – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Being a good rule follower does not save you; we are saved by grace through faith. We saw this with Abraham as he was declared righteous long before God gave these commandments (Genesis 15:6). 

However, the closer you draw to the Lord, the more you desire to walk in obedience (1 John 2:5, 1 John 5:3). Anyone following Christ is on this sanctification journey, and no one is going to do it perfectly, but it will happen progressively. And although our righteousness is not based on works but solely based on faith, the Christian life is not a passive life. Later in the story, Paul say to Christians, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9).

Paul is also going to write, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is out of faith, a gift we have been given from the Lord, that we desire to exercise self-control, show kindness, add to our knowledge of the Lord, etc. Our faith drives us to active obedience, putting sin to death and walking in the Spirit. 

In addition to the Ten Commandments, the Lord gives Moses instructions regarding the treatment of servants, personal injury cases, and the protection of property, which highlights that God is a just God and He values all life. We will continue to see how God is in the details of all things during the Exodus Era, so keep reading. (Exodus 20:1-22:15)