19 1 The Israelites reached the Sinai desert in the third month of their trip from Egypt. 2They had traveled from Rephidim to the Sinai desert. The Israelites camped in the desert near Mount Sinai.
16 On the morning of the third day, a thick cloud came down onto the mountain. There was thunder and lightning and a very loud sound from a trumpet. All the people in the camp were frightened. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to a place near the mountain to meet God. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke. Smoke rose off the mountain like smoke from a furnace.c This happened because the Lord came down to the mountain in fire. Also the whole mountain began to shake. 19 The noise from the trumpet became louder and louder. Every time Moses spoke to God, God answered him with a voice like thunder.
20 1 Then God said, 2 “I am the Lord your God. I led you out of the land of Egypt where you were slaves. These are the commands I give you:
3 “You must not worship any other gods except me.
4 “You must not make any idols.b Don’t make any statues or pictures of anything up in the sky or of anything on the earth or of anything down in the water. 5 Don’t worship or serve idols of any kind, because I, the Lord, am your God.
7 “You must not use the name of the Lord your God to make empty promises. If you do, the Lord will not let you go unpunished.
8 “You must remember to keep the Sabbathe a special day.
12 “You must honor and respect your father and your mother. Do this so that you will have a full life in the land that the Lord your God gives you.
13 “You must not murder anyone.
14 “You must not commit adultery.f
15 “You must not steal anything.
16 “You must not tell lies about other people.g
17 “You must not want to take your neighbor’s house. You must not want his wife. And you must not want his men and women servants or his cattle or his donkeys. You must not want to take anything that belongs to another person.”
“Honor your parents covers all the commandments. You won’t steal; you won’t murder or anything like that.” Preston, 11
“You shall not lie is the most important because you can get someone else in trouble.” Laura, 7
“The commandment about murder is the greatest because you will not only hurt that person’s family, you will hurt God.” Annastasia, 8
“The first commandment is because if you don’t believe in God, why should you worry about following all the other commandments?” Nathan, 10
All true standards come from God. He’s perfect. If there were no God, how would we know good from evil? God gave us the Ten Commandments so we would know what’s right and wrong.
Do you know anyone who has kept all Ten Commandments? We’ve all broken one or more of them. Only Jesus Christ kept God’s law perfectly. That’s why God the Father accepted the sacrifice of God the Son when he died for our sins on a wooden cross.
When religious leaders asked the Lord which commandment was most important, Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. Then he added that to love your neighbor as yourself is like the first commandment.
If you love God, you should also love people. The Apostle John wrote that if God showed his love to us by sending his Son to die for our sins, then “we also must love each other” (1 John 4:11).
God said he is a jealous God. How can God be jealous and be good? When people are jealous, it’s usually a bad thing because they are selfish. But God is not selfish. He loves us, and he wants the best for us. He knows that if we love anyone or anything more than him, we will be unhappy.
God’s perfect love motivates him to give to us. No one knows us better than God because he made us. If we love God, he will show us more and more the wonderful plans he has for us. If we truly love God, we will trust him. If we doubt God’s love, we will look for love in the wrong places.
Think About This: People who love God don’t need commandments. When we know that God loves us, we don’t want to disappoint him.
Memorize This Truth: Jesus answered, “`Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command” (Matthew 22:37-38).