God’s promise to make Abraham a nation stands fulfilled around the base of Mount Sinai. As the people wait, God gives Moses a series of laws to help them live holy and fulfilling lives. Standing before the nation, Moses relays God’s laws to the people. They agree: “Everything the Lord has said we will do” (Exodus 24:3).
In honor of the covenant, early the next morning Moses builds an altar at the foot of Mount Sinai—and sets up 12 pillars for Israel’s 12 tribes. Israelite men slaughter bulls as offerings to God, and Moses sprinkles half of the collected blood on God’s altar and half on the people. The covenant is sealed. God invites Moses, Aaron, his sons, and the 70 elders of the people up the mountain, where they share a meal with him. After the meal, God asks Moses to come up to him on the mountain.
The King’s Heart
Rulers’ hearts are reflected in their regulations. And God loves people. Each and every person is a precious invention of his, a thoughtful combination of personality, spirit and physical being. We are valuable in his eyes. So in God’s laws, people are protected—and so are their possessions. Without these laws, the powerful would woefully abuse the weak; might would always triumph over right. Our just God would have none of that. Power doesn’t determine a person’s worth—their identity as his loved creation does.
When God’s good, just and true heart is displayed across a society and lived through its laws, the result is an atmosphere of safety, security and freedom. Those who live in the United States live under the by-products of God’s law. All thriving societies in our world have God’s principles as the basis of their legal systems—even if they don’t specifically acknowledge that they came from God. It’s a good thing to live under the heart of the King.
Why are laws about slavery included in God’s laws? In ancient cultures, people primarily lived off the land. So those who didn’t own land or flocks had few means of supporting themselves or their families. Becoming a servant to a landowner was one way to have a livelihood. A slave could learn needed skills, be employed for a long amount of time, and have food and shelter provided both for them and for their families. God’s laws also ensured that slaves had rights and were treated fairly.