God Gives His Law

The Bible in Art: God Gives His Law    


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Verses for Consideration: Exodus 20:18-19

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”



Who wouldn’t have been frightened the day the Lord trumpeted his commandments from Mount Sinai? Thick smoke billowed from the mountain. Lightning pierced the sky. Thunder rumbled through the valleys. The earth
underfoot trembled.

No doubt God wanted the Israelites to respect him, to stand in voiceless awe of his might. For he is the limitless and eternal Creator of the universe. But there was something else he wanted them to know.

He wanted them to know of his loving commitment to them. He, the almighty God, who had shown his power as he freed them from Egyptian slavery and had carried them “on eagles’ wings” to this place of safety, would establish his special covenant with them. He was “the LORD ,” the God of goodness, grace, mercy, and compassion.

When his people cowered in terror, God spoke to them through Moses and said, “Do not be afraid.” His purpose was not to destroy them but to test them. He would compel them to exercise their faith and learn to trust that he would always be faithful.

God wasn’t trying to scare his people so much they would be afraid to disobey his laws. Rather, he sought obedience prompted by gratitude. The child of God doesn’t respond to God’s laws out of fear of punishment but out of joy over God’s goodness.

“Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15).

So often we have broken God’s commandments. So great is his love that he sent his Son to take our punishment upon himself. In thanks to him, we want to glorify him in everything we do. What an honor it is to know the true God who can shake the mountains and forgive our sins.

Prayer: Dear God, accept my humble thanks for the awesome things you have done to make me your child. Amen.


Title: Moses at Mount Sinai (1655)

Artist: Jacques de Létin