Allegiance to adultery in 60 seconds.
God tells Moses to deliver the message:
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
The Israelites respond:
We will do everything the Lord has said.
God gives Moses the pinnacle of the Law, His opus of legislation in the Ten Commandments.
Summed up: Love God (1-4), Love People (5-10)
In the terrifying drama and mortifying glory of God’s presence, the people stand at a distance from the mountain and say to Moses:
Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.
In essence, the Israelites are communicating that say what they need to say to get good things–God’s provision and protection as a holy nation. But they stay at a distance with Moses as a proxy to avoid God’s wrath. Favors dictate their good behavior and terror compels their abstinence.
God reiterates His first point in the Ten:
Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
Spoiler alert: Flip to the end of the book and the people have constructed a golden calf in Moses’ absence. It’s like they’ve committed adultery before the honeymoon could even end.
Empty lip service and hollow resolutions fall short when any real temptation or doubt creeps on the scene revealing the Israelites true outward motivation: seek pleasure, avoid pain.
The story of Exodus challenges me to examine my own heart for my motivation to obey God. Do I obey because I get something from people around me? Because I’m offered benefits? So that I can avoid God’s wrath? Or do I obey because I truly love God and am concerned with bringing Him glory in everything?