T h e
K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s
V. 2. Why do you think God remind ed the people o f past blessings before giv ing the commandments to them? Vs. 3-6. Why is idolatry so strongly forbidden? Why was it difficult for the people to grasp the idea of a purely spir itual God? How are the severity and mercy o f God shown in these verses? Vs. 7-11. Why is the Lord’s name to be regarded as sacred? Which commandment rebukes the common sin o f profanity? Was the Sabbath day given for the Jew’s observance or the Christian’s? What did it commemorate? What event does the Lord’s Day mark? How was the Sabbath to be hallowed? Is it as important to “do all thy work” in six days as it is to rest on the seventh? Golden Text Illustration When the late King Edward opened the new docks at Cardiff, the press reported the following reception: “Almost simultaneously with the entry o f the Royal yacht at one end of the dock, a couple o f steamers, crowded from stem to stern with little children, the inmates of various local benevolent institutions, swept in at the other. On one o f the. steamers were hundreds o f trimly clad waifs and strays; on the other were many deaf and dumb children, on whose behalf a large banner conveyed a message to His Majesty in these simple but eloquent terms: “W e cannot shout, we cannot sing, but we can love our gracious king!” Some hearts cannot demonstrate as others, but they can love.—T he S unday S chool C hronicle . The Giving of the Ten Commandments E xodus 19:16-20; 20:18-21 Memory Verse: “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22: 37-39).
Approach : For three months, the chil dren o f Israel had been journeying through the wilderness on their way to the
enforcement of this principle today, when people are ready to “take God apart,” so to speak, as though He could be analyzed and revealed by investigation. There is an unconscious breaking of this command ment in the very desire to know, to pry into things that are hidden, and to insist that everything about God must be ex plained. It is our part simply to accept what the infinite God has been pleased to reveal of Himself, and to allow the under standing to wait for that day when, with unveiled faces, we shall see Him for our selves. It will readily be seen that this commandment means much more than a mere prohibition against uttering oaths in anger and enforcing them with the use of the word “ God.” God is to be remembered by the use of the Sabbath day. The importance o f this may be judged from the space given to it in this lesson. The Sabbath is to be kept holy. This means that it is to be separated from all other days and kept in a class by itself. The word “holy” means simply “to be separate.” The Sabbath had already been set apart by G od ; now He would have His people set it apart. It was the memorial o f a finished creation when, a f ter the six days’ work, God rested and blessed the day upon which He rested, the seventh day (Gen. 2:1-3). The Sabbath is not the Lord’s Day, which is the day on which the church is to worship. The Lord’s Day is a memorial o f a finished redemption. It celebrates the resurrection o f Christ from among the dead, which event occurred on the first day o f the week, and it also speaks o f the be ginning of a new thing, that is, the new creation. There was no work o f any kind to be done on the Sabbath, either by the head of the household or by any one connected with the household, including even the stranger who might happen to be within the gates. Man and beast were to cease from all work upon this special day, that it might be wholly sanctified (separated, or holy) unto the Lord. No work of any kind was to be done, under penalty o f death. This commandment is enforced again and again in the Old Testament (cf. Ex. 31:12-16; 35:1-3; Num. 15:32-36; Ezek. 20:10-13; Gal. 3:10; Jas. 2:10). The Sabbath was given to Israel alone, as this passage clearly reveals. It was given about 2,000 years after the creation o f the world (Neh. 9:13, 14), as a memo rial o f a finished creation (vs. 8-12), and as a sign between God and Israel alone (Ezek. 31:12-17), that they might know that He was, above all others, their own God (Ezek. 20:10-12), and because they were, above all others, a redeemed people (Deut. 5:12-15). Gentiles are nowhere exhorted to ob serve the S a b b a t h . That day was given to Israel only, after the deliverance from Egypt, when they were set apart, as a redeemed and peculiar people unto God. The Sabbath, therefore, is connected with the priesthood o f Aaron and not with that o f Christ. The latter has to do with the first day o f the. week, the Lord’s Day, and it commemorates deliverance from death and the tomb.
promised land. They had come to a moun tain called M o u n t Sinai, and there they had p i t c h e d their tents. They w e r e a big company o f peo ple, with M o s e s as their leader. L e s s o n S t o r y : Moses was kept very busy with his duties as their leader. When-
even any one was puzzled about some thing, he came to Moses to have it ex plained. Whenever there was a quarrel, Moses had to judge which person was in the right. This was too much work for one man to do. So Moses chose some help ers. But Moses needed something be sides helpers. He needed laws with which to govern the people. Moses prayed to God about this need, and God answered his prayer by giving to the people laws by which they were to be governed. , You remember that God had chosen the children of Israel to be His own special people. At this time, He told them again o f this. He told Moses to remind the peo ple that if they obeyed God, they should be to Him a “treasure . . . above all peo ple.” Moses reported to the people what God had said to him. “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” God wanted the people to realize that this was a very serious matter. He want ed them to know of a certainty that the laws which they were to obey came from Him and that they were therefore precious and to be obeyed. For three days, the peo ple cleansed and prepared themselves to receive these laws. God was speaking, and they must be ready to listen. When we pray to God, we must be ready to receive His answer. The penalties for breaking many o f the laws in the Code of Hammurabi are ex tremely severe. Stealing is punishable by death. Burglary and harboring a fugitive slave also incur the death penalty. Who the crime is against also makes a differ ence in the penalty. For instance, if one injured a rich man, the same injury would be inflicted upon him. If, however, one injured a poor man, he was subject to a slight fine. Injury followed by death to a poor man’s daughter would bring a slight fine, while the same offense against a rich man’s daughter would mean that the in- jurer’s daughter would be put to death. Consider the remarkable difference in God’s law. Stealing and burglarly were punishable by causing the offender to re pay double. Harboring a fugitive slave was not considered a crime at all. God’s law gave equal rights and privileges to every one, regardless o f his social class. Truly, His law proves that God is no re specter o f persons. and it forces us to answer Jehovah’s ques tion in the negative.
AUGUST 14, 1932 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS U E xodus 20:12-21
Golden Text: “ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Lev. 19:18). The Law of God I n D euteronomy 4:8 Jehovah asks, “What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so .right eous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” Until recently, we have had no evidence as a basis for answering that
question. In 1902, a large slab o f stone was found at Susa, containing the laws of t h e Babylonians of about 2,000 B.C. It is commonly called the Code o f Hammurabi, because the latter was the king who had the code o f laws written
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upon the stone. It is quite evident that these laws were meant to be universal in nature, and to govern other peoples and lands than those in which they were writ ten. A comparison of these laws with the laws given at Mount Sinai is interesting,
V. 1. Where were the people encamped at the time of our lesson (cf. Ex. 19:1)? How much o f the law was given directly by God and how much was supplied by Moses’ ingenuity?
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