Lesson 7: October 15, 2017

Obeying God’s Law: Exodus 20:18-26

Teaching Strategy: Name different covenants we make today. What is required for each party to do his or her part? What is God’s part?


The first 17 verses of Exodus 20 contain the Ten Commandments given by God to the people of Israel. These are the rules for living as God’s covenant people; they describe life in right relationship to God and one another. Verses 18-21 describe how the people “were afraid and trembled” in response to the visual manifestation of God in “thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking” (v. 18). Moses calmed them by saying that God was present to test them so that they would not sin. Verses 22-26 describe the kind of worship and altar that God required of them.

The concept of covenant offers a useful way of thinking about citizenship within a country or within the global community. What are the agreements that citizens make with one another regarding how they will live together in right relationships – in mutual respect and harmony? How do Christians understand and live out the relationship between their covenant with God and their civic covenant(s) with other people? Recent events raise questions about such agreements. To cite two examples:

In the U.S., 58 people were killed and more than 500 people injured in a mass shooting. People of many faiths are struggling to know how to respond. Many strongly protest the view that virtually unlimited gun ownership is part of the Constitution (which can be thought of as the covenant governing American society). They advocate for changes to gun laws in order to reduce gun-related violence and deaths – which occur much more frequently in the U.S. than in most of the rest of the world.

In international relationships, President Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged increasingly heated threats against each other, leaving many observers both anxious and confused. Christian leaders have called upon the President to stop his name-calling and threats, to pursue diplomacy, and to recognize that nuclear war must never take place.

Fall 2017-2108 Theme: Covenant

Unifying Principle: Without obedience to law, people live in chaos, hurting themselves, others, and their environment. Where can people get a law that they will obey? God delivered the commandments to the Israelites while showing divine and holy power that tested them to convince them to obey the laws of the covenant.


Posted on: October 8, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing