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What Comes Before the Law?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”

Exodus 20:2

Last week we began looking at Exodus 20:1-17, the revelation of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. I had promised to examine each of the commandments carefully. But before I fulfill this promise, I’d like to look at what the Lord says before issuing the first commandment: “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery” (20:2).

Why did God say this? Wasn’t it obvious to all that the one who was going to lay out the terms of the covenant was the same God who had delivered the Israelites from Egypt? Why underscore this truth?

The Lord reminded the Israelites of who he was and what he had done for them to lay the foundation of his covenant with them. Their sacred relationship, though it would require Israel’s obedience, was not based on their works, but on God’s gracious salvation. He saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt before he established the covenant with them, before they did anything in particular to honor him.

Though our relationship with God takes on a different shape because it is based on what Christ has done for us, in some ways it is similar to the covenant between the Lord and Israel. We too are brought into relationship with God through his grace. And we too are expected to do good works that God has planned for us (Eph. 2:10). We do these things in gratitude for God’s salvation and in response to his love for us.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Why do you obey God? What motivates you to obey, especially when it’s hard?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, you are indeed the God who rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt. And you are indeed the God who rescued me from slavery to sin and death. How I thank you for being my Savior!

Help me, dear Lord, to live my life in response to all that you have done for me. May I be so caught up in your grace that I’m drawn to give you all that I am, all the time. Yes, I am called to obey you, and indeed I should. But my obedience is not a means to earn your favor, but rather a way to express my gratitude for abundant favor already given.

All praise be to you, for you are the LORD, the Savior of Israel and my Savior too! Amen.

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