The giving of the Law is the first of the great events recorded during the encampment at Sinai.
This was the beginning of a new dispensation for them.
It is known as “The Dispensation of the Law.”
Prior to this God had been dealing with mankind in grace.
The dispensations that had already run their course were:
1. Innocence—Adam, 2. Conscience—Adam, 3. Human Government—Noah, 4. Promise—Abraham, 5. Law.
We are living in the “church age” and the “kingdom” will close out God’ program.
God had dealt with His people until this point on the principle of “grace.”
Their sins and shortcomings had provoked God to pour upon them fresh supplies of grace.
Till now grace had been given them unconditionally, despite their failures.
Now the blessing is to be continued on the ground of their “obedience.” See v. 5-6.
“If you will obey.” Etc.
v. 8 is the people’s reply, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
At this point in their history Israel fell from being sons to the status of servants.
In John 15:15 Jesus said to His disciples, “I call you not servants . . . but I have called you friends.”
But we, through the sacrifice of Christ are “called the sons of God” 1 John 3:1.
What Israel lost through their disobedience, we have regained through Christ.
Note the new revelation of God’s character, “Infinitely holy and unapproachable.”
Before this revelation the people had to “sanctify themselves” within and without, v. 10.
So holy was the place to which God would come that man and best were absolutely excluded, v. 11-12.
The descent of the Lord is described in v. 16-19.
Thunders and lightnings, cloud and sound of a trumpet. The Lord then descended in fire.
The smoke that ascended was so dense that it appeared that a huge furnace was burning, earthquake.
Note now the effect upon the people, v.18-21.
When the people saw this display of holiness they moved away to a great distance.
They said to Moses, “You speak with us and we will listen, but don’t let God speak with us for we may die.”
Into the solitude and sacredness of this mountain Moses was called by God.
He emerged with the tablets of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments. Read Exodus 20:2-17.
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu with the seventy elders were called up into the mountain.
v. 10 They saw the God of Israel. Note what they saw.
Notice again the description of the glory of God given in vs. 16-17.
v. 18 Into this blaze of glory and display of divine righteousness God called Moses.
He was there for 40 days and nights.
While in God’s presence he was given the blueprint for the tabernacle and the offerings.
This is contained in chapters 25-31.
The Golden Calf
At the call of God Moses had gone up to the mount of God, Exodus 24:13.
Aaron, Hur, and the people were left in the valley.
God was testing them during the absence of their leader.
Moses was away for some time (40 days). During this time they became restless, and demanded Aaron to make them “gods to go before them.”
They also added, “For this Moses, that man that brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him.” This was a cardinal mistake.
They had forgotten God so quickly.
Gold was collected and a golden calf was made.
Then Aaron perpetrated a terrible sin.
When the calf was set up, he built an alter before it and made a proclamation that “tomorrow is a feast unto the Lord.”
This was the crowning act of wickedness associating Jehovah’s Holy Name with such dark idolatry.
Since then this scene has often been repeated.
The Lord Jesus has ascended to heaven. His people are left on earth.
During His absence, many have made a golden calf.
Religion has provided one ready-made.
This is being worshipped instead of God.
v.7 The Lord tells Moses that the people had corrupted themselves.
v. 10 God was so angry with them that He wanted to destroy them.
v. 11-14 Moses intercedes for the people. God answers that prayer.
v. 19 When Moses saw the people dancing around the idol he threw the tablets of stone down and broke them.
v. 26 “Who is on the Lord’s side?” “Let him come unto me.”
v. 28 Three thousand men were slain that day.
v. 30-35 Moses again intercedes for their lives and God granted his prayer. But He visited them with plagues.