In this passage the Lord gives instructions to Israel pertaining to how they are to live as his people. At this point they have been out of Egypt for 7 or 8 weeks, and they are encamped at the foot of Mt Sinai. The Lord is going to give the 10 Commandments and the Levitical law at this place, but first he reviews the framework of grace by which he has delivered Israel, and the way they are to think of it.

The first point is the primacy of God’s Word for their lives. The Lord tells Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel (verse 3),” and “These are the words you shall speak to the people of Israel (verse 6). Moses is the prophet of God. He is given God’s word to deliver to the people. God reveals to his people how they are to think of God and what their lives are to be like in serving him.

This points us to the necessity of Scripture for our lives. There is no book so useful or needful as the Bible. Thomas Brooks wrote: “It is from God’s Word blind minds are enlightened, hard hearts softened, proud spirits humbled, sinful natures changed, and poor souls saved. It will be no surprise that those who neglected Scripture come up short of the Kingdom of God.”

We have need to be much about reading Scripture, searching it, meditating upon it, praying over our study of it. There is blessing in God’s Word that cannot be found elsewhere. The sufficiency of Scripture is also vital for us to understand. Your own thoughts about God must be conformed to Scripture. You will err if you rely on your own understanding. Hence the reason God reveals himself and his will in his word.

His word is not superfluous or supplementary. It is the only rule of faith and life in the Christian’s life. Some people object that there is wide disagreement even among Christians as to the meaning of Scripture or there are difficult things to understand in the Bible. But these are words of unbelief rooted in desire to be free of God’s rule.

When we read of God telling Moses, “Thus you shall say to Israel,” we should apply that to all of Scripture being spoken to us from God. God has spoken to you in Scripture. What you do with it is your responsibility. Certainly, there are difficult things to understand. Nevertheless, there are plain things to apply.

An example of this is in our passage. The Lord says to Israel, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you out on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself.” If we have read all of Exodus we realize that behind this statement is a lot. For instance, God delivered them because of a promise to Abraham. We learn God keeps his promises, no matter the apparent difficulty.

Also, Egypt suffered the just judgment of God. Pharaoh and the Egyptians resisted the Lord until they perished under his judgment. Israel learned what the end is of all who resist the Lord. Likewise, there is little teaching more plain in the Bible than the certainty of judgment for those outside of Christ.

Consider the Lord’s statement. “Unless you repent you will perish (Luke 13).” You need to dig into Scripture as to what he means by repentance, but the statement is absolute. I can be sure that without repentance I will perish like the Egyptians did. To “perish” is to die under God’s judgment.

The point for Israel is to understand that where the heavenly light is kindled, it directs in the right way. Faith works by believing and acting on God’s Word. To be redeemed by the Lord is the greatest gift. As Israel was delivered from Egypt, so believers in Christ are delivered from judgment, death, and the power of the devil. This requires a response of faith.

The Lord tells Israel to think of their deliverance (verse 4). This was to be their motivation to faithfulness in the wilderness. For some it was; they chose the Lord as their portion. For many, they still perished in unbelief, despite the Lord’s deliverance and the Lord’s Word. (1st Cor. 10). 

The Lord promises life for those who truly embrace him.  We must walk by the light he gives in his word, not the way of our own making. Our safety depends upon the assistance of our guide, the word the Lord gives. All things will be brought to light on Judgement Day (1 Cor. 4). Today, while it is today, is the day to think deeply on the Lord’s Word to us.