what he does

Exodus 19

You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6 And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’

 19, our relationship with God the Father.

And only then, do we get to the commandments. That’s 20, as in  Exodus 20.

Exodus 20.1-2

20 And God spoke all these words:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

And then he follows with the commandments..

So, 19 comes before 20.

Our obedience, following the laws of God, comes as a response to our relationship with God. Our identity.

We notice the Bible introduces the commandments as “words.”

And God spoke all these words

The Hebrew word for this is dabar. Dabar is translated “word”. The same word, dabar is also the Hebrew word for, “promise.”

So, you could call the ten commandments the ten promises.

What do these promises do? Why does God give them to us?

The Ten commandments describe a way of life.

Loving God and loving our neighbor. They are not a formula about how we get God to love us. That is how we often mistake the meaning of the commandments. It’s like an inverted covenant triangle.

We are obedient to God, then he becomes our Father, then he loves us and gives us our identity as his people.


The reason we so often make this mistake is because we think God should act like we act.

First you do things and then you get rewarded.

In fact, all religions, except ours, have people doing good things in order to get rewarded. Human effort is the center of all religions except Christianity. In Christianity it is not what we have done that counts. It is what Jesus has done for us.

We are special to God and he loves us first. We don’t have to do anything to deserve it.

So, because he loves us first, as a result we want to obey him, as a sign of our thanksgiving. Our loving Father gives us the commandments to guide our response.

In other words, 19 before 20.

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