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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 1/1/1997

Everybody Needs Rules!

When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, after many years of slavery, the Bible tells us that there were 600,000 Israelite men; counting women and children, there were probably 2 to 3 million people traveling together through a vast wilderness to a new homeland. So many people traveling together had to have rules and guidelines to help them get along with each other. They also had to be taught how to worship God and show Him respect. The people of Israel were specially chosen by God to be the ancestors of the Messiah (Jesus) Who would come later. So God wanted them to be a holy people, different from all other people in the world. He wanted the Israelites to be devoted completely to Him.

After weeks of traveling, the people came to Mount Sinai (also known as Mount Horeb, or the mountain of God). This is the same mountain where God spoke to Moses through the burning bush (read Exodus 3). God told Moses to come up on the mountain, where He repeated His promise that the Israelites would be a great nation if they would obey Him. He told Moses to bring the people around the base of the mountain after three days, with their clothes washed and their minds ready to listen to God Himself.

On the morning of the third day, thunder and lightning appeared around Mount Sinai, and a thick cloud came down on the mountain. The ground quaked, and there was fire around the mountain. The people were very frightened, and asked Moses to go up to the mountain and listen to God instead of God speaking to all of them.

Moses went up on Mount Sinai and God spoke to him, giving him many different commandments to help the people know how to be the happy and God-fearing nation that He wanted them to be. Moses wrote down the things God told him, went back down the mountain, and read all of them to the people.

God told Moses to come back up on the mountain again, for 40 days, to receive the tablets of stone on which God had written the Ten Commandments. The first four of the Ten Commandments told the Israelites how they should show respect and love for God. The last six of the Commandments told the Israelites how they were to treat one another (read Exodus 20).

When Moses told the Israelites what God said, the multitudes at the foot of the mountain promised to obey all that God had commanded them. But a short time later they completely ignored their promise and disobeyed several of the Ten Commandments; they decided that they didn’t like God’s restrictions, and so they made up their own rules.

On daily newscasts, and in daily newspapers, we hear and read about people who have decided they don’t like God’s rules, and so they have chosen to disobey them. Bad choices always result in bad consequences.

From the very beginning, (even in the Garden of Eden), God has had rules for the people that live on His Earth because He knows that humans need limits and guidelines. These rules about what is right and what is wrong came from God Himself. It has always been wrong to worship anything or anyone other than God. It has always been wrong to use His holy name in a curse, or in a slang expression. It has always been wrong to treat parents with disrespect, to murder, to lie, to steal, and to want what others have. These things have always been wrong and we can never make them right.



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