Moses remained there on the mountain with the LORD forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the LORD wrote the terms of the covenant–the Ten Commandments–on the stone tablets. Exodus 34:28
Yesterday I was in a Bible study that is studying the book of Romans. We were studying Romans 8 and the topic being discussed was the Law of Moses. The person teaching the class was teaching that although the Law was weak because it couldn’t make us righteous, we weren’t to just disregard the whole Law. Specifically, the 10 commandments, because it was still our moral compass …. God’s standard for us to live righteously.
Our list of 10 commandments weren’t written in stone
The 10 commandments being referred to in this Bible study and by the church are not the actual 10 commandments that God wrote on stone tablets. Our list of 10 commandments is actually God speaking to the people from Mt Sinai. It is the first 10 things He spoke to them before they responded in fear asking Moses to speak to them instead of God. In the Old Testament, these words are called the aseret hadevarim, the “ten words” or “ten utterances.” In rabbinical writings, they are usually referred to as Aseret haDiberot.
When they saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke they trembled in fear (Exodus 20:1-19). Through Moses, God then went on to say a few more things in addition to the first ten things because the people were afraid and wanted Moses as their mediator in Exodus 20:22-26. He then continued speaking through Moses to the people in chapter 21-23 the rest of the Laws of the Old Mosaic Covenant.
In Exodus 24 Moses wrote down everything the Lord had said and the people had agreed to do all of it. Then he built an altar at the foot of Mt Sinai with 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel and sent young men to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded that they would do everything written in it, that they would be obedient. Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
God writes the actual 10 commandments on stone tablets
In Exodus 24:15 we find Moses going up to the mountain again. This time he spends 40 days and nights and God spoke to him during this time about the laws of the Covenant. At the end of the 40 days, He gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). God told Moses to go down the mountain because the people had already turned away from all that He had commanded them. Moses anger burned hot as he came near and saw the golden calf and the dancing He threw the stone tablets and broke them at the foot of the mountain.
God rewrites the 10 commandments on stone tablets
In Exodus 34:1 the Lord tells Moses to make 2 more stone tablets like the first and He will write the words that were on the first tablet. These words written on the stone tablets are actually called the 10 commandments – the words of the covenant in Scripture (Exodus 34:28)
The actual 10 commandments written in stone
- You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
- You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
- You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day, you shall rest.
- You shall observe the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Ingathering.
- Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.
- You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened
- Or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning.
- The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.
- You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
These are the 10 commandments… the tablets of stone… that were stored in the Ark of the Covenant 1 Kings 8:9 and Hebrews 9:4 and the book of the Covenant containing the 613 laws was placed beside the Ark (Deut 31:24-26). These 10 commandments are vastly different from what we in the church call the 10 commandments.
Yesterday I was in a Bible study that is studying the book of Romans. We were studying Romans 8 and the topic being discussed was the Law of Moses. The person teaching the class was teaching that although the Law was weak because it couldn’t make us righteous, we weren’t to just disregard it because it was still our moral compass (specifically the 10 commandments) …. God’s standard for us to live righteously.
Would you consider the above list… the actual 10 commandments written on stone…. your moral compass? Is this what we want governing our behavior as Christians? Is this list God’s standard for us as Believers to live righteously?
Tomorrow’s blog will be on what did Paul have to say about the tablets of stone? Did he consider it a moral compass?