The Law of God Before Moses
Gen.26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Our text today has to do with the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham was the father of the faithful. He is the patriarch of the Israelite people. After Abraham came Isaac, then Jacob and after 400 years of bondage in Egypt Moses came along and led the Israelites out of Egypt back to the Promised Land. In the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land God spoke directly to all the people and wrote His 10 Commandments on tables of stone with His finger Ex.20. He also spoke to Moses as a mediator who wrote all the ceremonial and civil laws in his own handwriting in the book of the covenant Ex. 24.
We’ve been studying the Law. We know that the 10 Commandments are eternal and have the same character traits as God their author. We also understand that the Law of Moses was given to bring us to Christ. Gal. 3:24. The handwriting of ordinances in the book of the covenant that Moses wrote was fulfilled in Christ. Col. 2:14. Christ did not destroy the law but fulfilled the law. Matt. 5:17. We are not under bondage to the things that point us to Christ now. They have been nailed to the cross. We also believe that Christ kept the 10 Commandments perfectly for us but the 10 Commandments were given to show us our sin. The Law of God is eternal and shows us our eternal need of Christ. The Law of Moses was only needed until it brought us to Christ. Some say that the 10 Commandments should go away with the Law of Moses but let God’s word show us how that the 10 Commandments existed long before God wrote them on the tables of stone. The Abrahamic Covenant in our text should be proof enough but let us look at each of the 10 before Ex. 20 and Mt. Sinai.
- THE FIRST COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT LOYALTY. Ex. 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Jacob understood this long before Moses came. Gen. 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
- THE SECOND COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT WORSHIP. Ex. 20: 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. The patriarchs knew that idol worship was sin. Gen 31:26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? 27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? 28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
- THE THIRD COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT REVERENCE. Ex. 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Pharaoh is one example of those disrespecting the name of God before Ex. 20 and God destroyed him. Ex. 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. Ex. 10:7 And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? Ex. 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
- THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT SANCTIFICATION. Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Israel prepared for the Sabbath BEFORE getting to Mt Sinai. Ex. 16:22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. 27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. 28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
- THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT RESPECT FOR PARENTS. Ex. 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The sons of Jacob knew about honoring parents. Gen. 50:15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
- THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT HUMAN LIFE. Ex. 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. God punished Cain for breaking this commandment. Gen. 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
- THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT PURITY. Ex. 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. Potiphar’s wife is an example showing this as sin. Gen. 39:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
- THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT HONESTY. Ex. 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. Theft was obviously a sin to Joseph and his brothers. Gen. 44:4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? 5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing. 6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words. 7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: 8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold?
9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.
10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
- THE NINTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT TRUTHFULNESS. Ex. 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. The leaders of Israel were to be men of truth. Ex. 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
- THE TENTH COMMANDMENT IS ABOUT CONTENTMENT. Ex. 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. This sin led to the destruction of the earth in Noah’s day. Gen. 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
CONCLUSION: The moral standards in the 10 Commandments are God’s Eternal Law. They show us our eternal need of Christ and will never go away. The ceremonial things of the Law of Moses were given to bring us to Christ and are no longer needed when Christ has come and we see Him as our one and only hope of salvation from sin. AMEN.