Exodus 17–20: Moses & the Ten Commandments

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 18: Monday

So he named the place Massah and Meribah because of the contending of the sons of Israel, and because they tested Yahweh, saying, “Is Yahweh among us or not?”
Exodus 17:7 LSB

Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 17–20. Pray and ask God to teach you from His Word. Take time to carefully read through these events.

Notice when these events occur. It’s only been a few months since God delivered Israel out of Egypt (cf. Exodus 19:1). As you read their reactions as they travel, it’s important to remember this time context: they’ve very recently seen God bring plagues onto the Egyptians; they’ve very recently seen God deliver them from Pharaoh’s army when they crossed the Red Sea.

The word, grumble, has already occurred frequently in Exodus 15–16. The Israelites grumbled about water in Exodus 15; they grumbled about food in Exodus 16. Despite seeing God’s miracles of deliverance from the Egyptians, and God’s miracles of provision, in Exodus 17, they grumble again about water. If you have the time look at the cross-references to some of the place names, especially Massah and Meribah. Massah and Meribah became notorious examples of unbelief and warning.

One thing I especially like about Moses is that he wasn’t too proud to listen and learn when his father-in-law, Jethro, instructed him about delegating his responsibilities to judge disputes and teach God’s statutes and laws.

But you shall select excellent men out of all the people, those who fear God, men of truth, those who hate greedy gain; and you shall place these men over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
Exodus 18:21 LSB

Those three characteristics, those who fear God, men of truth, and those who hate greedy gain remain things to look for when deciding on leaders.

The Ten Commandments are in chapter 20. Read them carefully and think about what they say. Never forget these are not the commands of men, but the commands of God.

Then God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
“You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of Yahweh your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave or your cattle or your sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male slave or his female slave or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:1–17 LSB

Remember Jesus’ reply about the great commandment?

And one of them, a scholar of the Law, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. And the second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:35-40 LSB

How do the Ten Commandments teach you what it means to love God and what it means to love your neighbor?

Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Ten Commandment[s] made from Morano Glass at Kedumim Synagogue STIBEL: Daniel Ventura, (CC BY-SA 3.0). GFDL-1.2-or-later.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2021–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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