God chooses Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Don’t forget Egypt represents more than just the literal country, it means away from all that is anti- God. They sea is parted and they’re protected and that’s the part of the story you know. Their journey takes them to a huge mountain called Sinai.
At Sinai God speaks. For years, God hears and at Sinai, God speaks.
God hasn’t talked to a group of people since Eden. Things have been quiet, sort of an eerie silence. There has been exchanges with individuals but not with the masses.
Sinai is breaking the silence. God is near. God is about to speak.
Before God speaks to the people, he tells Moses to remind them of the exodus. Ex 19:4 God tells Moses to say this…“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
God invites them to be a holy nation. Genesis is about the progression of sin, violence , opposition of God. Anti kingdom. Dysfunction. God says form a nation not shaped by greed, violence or abusive power but compassion, justice, and care for ones neighbor.
It’s as if God says, you’ve experienced Egypt: now I’m calling you to be anti Egypt.
On Mount Sinai, God gives them the ten commandments. Often portrayed as strict rules given by fire breathing God to keep people in line. But in the original context, commandments take on all sort of new meanings.
These people have been living as slaves. Slavery is fundamentally inhumane. It robs dignity. It makes you see yourself and the world very differently. God begins with the Ten Commandments with the desire to teach them to be human again. These commands are vital truths about what it means to live in authentic human community. They are anti Egypt.
For example, the third commandment..
Don’t misuse God’s name. Hebrew for misuse can also be “carry.” God has redeemed these former slaves and is now inviting them to be representatives in the world of this redemption and the God who made it happen. They are how the world will know who this God is. God’s reputation is going to depend on them and how they carry Gods name. Will they promote God as an anti Egypt God? This command is certainly about the words a person speaks. But at its heart it is far more about how each person carries, represents, and gives a reputation to the name of God. These people are no longer slaves.
Take a Sabbath, a day each week, not do any work. In Egypt they worked every day without a break. The Sabbath is the command to take a day a week to remind themselves they aren’t in Egypt anymore, that their value doesn’t come from how many bricks they produce. Their significance comes from the God who rescued them, the God who loves them.
The 10 commandments are a new way to be human. Everything about the rest of the commandments speaks to new liberation. God is inviting, looking, searching for his people who can represent him in the world. He’s still doing that today.
Some of this information coming from “Jesus wants to save Christians” by Rob Bell.