For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments 1 John 5:3

2 min

“1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

God’s Law Is a Law of Love

As God’s great rule of right was presented before them, the people realized as never before the offensive character of sin and their own guilt in the sight of a holy God. The multitude cried out to Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” The leader answered, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” EP 214.4

Blinded and debased by slavery and heathenism, the people were not prepared to appreciate fully the far-reaching principles of God’s ten precepts. Additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments. These laws were called “judgments” because the magistrates were to give judgment according to them. Unlike the Ten Commandments, they were delivered privately to Moses. EP 214.5

The first of these related to servants. A Hebrew could not be sold as a slave for life. His service was limited to six years; on the seventh he was to be set at liberty. The holding of slaves not of Israelitish birth was permitted, but their life and person were strictly guarded. The murderer of a slave was to be punished; an injury inflicted upon one by his master, though no more than the loss of a tooth, entitled him to his freedom. EP 215.1

The Israelites were to beware of indulging the spirit of cruelty from which they had suffered under their Egyptian taskmasters. The memory of their own bitter servitude should enable them to put themselves in the servant’s place, to be kind and compassionate. EP 215.2

The rights of widows and orphans were specially guarded. “If thou afflict them in any wise,” the Lord declared, “and they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” Aliens who united themselves with Israel were to be protected from wrong or oppression. “Thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” EP 215.3

The taking of usury from the poor was forbidden. A poor man’s raiment or blanket taken as a pledge must be restored to him at nightfall. Judges were warned against perverting judgment, aiding a false cause, or receiving bribes. Slander was prohibited, and acts of kindness enjoined even toward personal enemies. EP 215.4

The people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the firstfruits of His bounties. The object of all these regulations was stated: all were given for the good of Israel. The Lord said, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me.” EP 215.5

These laws were to be recorded by Moses and carefully treasured as the foundation of the national law, and, with the ten precepts, the condition of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. EP 215.6

The message was now given, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not.” Christ in the pillar of cloud and of fire was their Leader. While there were types pointing to a Saviour to come, there was also a present Saviour, who gave commands to Moses for the people and was set forth before them as the only channel of blessing. EP 216.1

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