God...Moses And
The Ten Commandments

The biblical account of Moses and the Ten Commandments is part of a vast story about God entering into a contract to bring his people out of exile...a plan that began with God's covenant with Father Abraham.

A covenant is a religious contract...and God only relates to his people by contracting with them.  That means, even though God continues to love us, there are conditions on our eligibility to benefit from God's love for us.

Religious covenants have the same form and elements as civil contracts...
in which

  1. all parties agree to exchange valuable benefits...
  2. all agree to the terms (conditions) of receiving those benefits...
  3. and there is a penalty for default on the agreement.

As for Moses and the Ten Commandments…

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What's the benefit to the Israelites?

They are to inherit the land God promised to Father Abraham but God writes the Ten Commandments in stone (Ex32:15ff)...and they must keep them.

God does not give such handsome benefits without conditions...there is no such thing as a contract or covenant without conditions. The strings attached to benefits in a contract are strict and enforceable through the penalty clause.



What's the benefit to God?

By their nature...contracts are win-win. When God binds himself to perform and deliver on his promises...he wants something in return.

Many people believe that God loves them unconditionally. But they simply have not read the scriptures...where it is stated over and over that they must keep the Ten Commandments to receive the promised benefits. 

For example...read the story of the rich man (Mt 19:16ff). As well as John 14:15; 14:21; 14:23-24; 15:9.  

God wants two things from Moses and the Israelites.


  1. Moses is to display God's sanctity to the Israelites (Deut 32:51)
  2. The Israelites are to heed Moses and the Ten Commandments.

Those are the terms of the covenant with Moses and the Ten Commandments.

And the Israelites agreed to the terms (Ex 24:3). 


No contract or covenant can exist without full agreement on both sides. You cannot force 'benefit's on people who do not want them...who do not accept your terms...and then punish them if they do not comply.

Initially the Israelites did not want to leave their positions as indentured slaves to Pharaoh (Ex 14:11-12).

It was not until after many demonstrations of God's ability to care for his freed people that the Israelites finally consented to God's jurisdiction (Ex 19:8).

As free people, even God must obtain our consent to hold us accountable to his law. One can contract only if they are free to do so...or not.

When you sign on to a covenant or a contract...your fate is literally sealed. Either you will comply with the terms of the covenant and enjoy its benefits...Or you will default and be hit with the penalty clause.

What's the penalty?

For failing to display the sanctity of God to the Israelites (Num 20:12)...God punishes Moses and Aaron by depriving them the honor of leading the Israelites into the promised land.

As for the Israelites he tells them they may either keep the Commandments and enjoy prosperity and long life or...if they don't...they will perish and die quickly in the land he has promised them.

Moses and the Ten Commandments became the foundation of the New Testament (Mt 19:16ff).

When the rich man asks Jesus what he must do to have eternal life...Jesus responds "Keep the Commandments". He then spells them out again for him.

But many people in the church do not keep this foundation of gospel life...they default on the religious covenant with God...and many have paid the price under the penalty clause...they have been banished from ministry...

"Since you have rejected knowledge...

I will reject you from my priesthood."

(Hosea 4:6)


And there you have it. A formal religious contract...a covenant...Moses and the Ten Commandments...with the same elements as modern day civil contracts...

  1. A mutual exchange of desired benefits
  2. the boundaries or limitations or terms under which those benefits will be given
  3. A penalty clause for violating the specified terms

As you consider the fact that God relates to humans...even Moses and the Ten Commandments...in the ancient form of a contract...a religious covenant...you may have questions or comments about how this relates to boundaries in ministry. And questions are the first step to knowledge and then understanding.

If so...you can go from Moses and the Ten Commandments to the covenant.

Or you can...



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