The nation of Israel has been given the law, statutes and warnings to prepare them for entering the promise land. Previously, God gave to mankind specific instructions to “be fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue”. This is intrinsic in man’s nature. Man produces.
Taking the creation of God, using the intellect that God has given him and applying labor, man produces. A natural framework within society is developed to secure the liberty necessary for production. All of mankind, the regenerate and unregenerate, evolves along this path of production. With liberty secured by civil authority, the levels of production rise to the needs of the people. Under bondage to civil authority, the needs of the people go unmet.
The nation of Israel is about to encounter a highly developed and sophisticated culture and godless world. “For all have sinned” applies to the individuals inhabiting the promised land. Nascent Babylonianism is the dominant culture. Nimrod’s rebellion in Genesis 11 has infected the world of Mesopotamia.
A people with a perverted religion for its foundation of the culture; this is the character of the promised land. The perverted religion affects all areas of life and all areas of life support it. Arts, entertainment, science and commerce are infected by the godless religion that promotes the “god of self”. It is man centered and designed to satisfy the lust of man. It is rebellion against God.
Not much has changed in 4000 years.
God spoke to Adam, He spoke to Noah and He spoke to Abraham. Through creation God has demonstrated His power and commanded Adam and Eve to be “fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue”. Through his promise to Noah, God demonstrated his power again and reaffirmed his commandment for mankind to be “fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue”. His promise to Abraham is land, seed and blessing, God has proved Himself as the God “who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as if they were.” (Romans 4:17c).
God gave the nation of Israel Moses to lead them out of bondage into the promised land. Delivering the nation from the hands of Pharaoh and proving Himself mighty indeed (again), God separates the children of Israel unto Himself and begins to teach them about Himself.
The Ten Commandments lay a foundation for the nation Israel and civilized society. In conquest, God will prove Himself again as a mighty protector and warrior for His children (Exodus 23:20-23). In settling the land, God will prove Himself as the all wise God who communicates how to live.
The first five commandments teach who God is. He is the God who brought them out of Egypt, the God whose likeness is unique and cannot be represented by any means, the jealous God for His children’s love and devotion, the God who is serious about His word and the God who deserves to be worshiped. This is the God who is going to lead the nation into the promise land and fulfill His promise to Abraham (Exodus 6:1-8).
The next five commandments are the basis for the rest of the law as it pertains to human action. Do not kill, commit adultery, steal, lie or covet. This is how the nation should live, as God directs them not to live as the Canaanites do. The simplicity is remarkable. God would expand on this foundation through more of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The commands can be summed up as, “don’t do what they do”.