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At Mount Sinai God told His children the rules for His Covenant He was making with them. These were the laws the people had to obey in this next Agreement with God.
1. Do not have any gods but Me. Which means, let God be the Decision Maker. Don’t love, serve, follow, consult, worship, or seek answers from anyone or anything but God. Yahweh is the ONLY God. There can be no other.
2. Don’t worship idols. Idols are things made of gold or wood or metal or any stuff of earth that people worship or bow down to.
Did you know that idols are not just statues? Anything other than Yahweh God that you “bow down to” in your heart is an idol. Most people don’t really think a piece of gold is really a god. What they are actually worshipping is what they believe to be on the other side of that chunk of gold or metal, which usually involves some good feeling they get. Did you know that an iPad or your toys or loving food or stuff or wanting to have fun, fun, fun all the time could all be idols? Really! If you let your feelings of “I want, want, want” fun, or stuff, or ice cream (or even spinach salad!) — if you let that decide what you are going to do or how you are going to treat someone, then that’s an idol. So be careful to not “bow down” to fun, stuff, or your tummy (like Esau!). If you ever feel like you are starting to looovvve something too much, then look to God and just put it aside for Him. You’ll be glad you did… and He will, too. And as you’ll hear in later stories, if you let your love for some “stuff of earth” grow to where you love something more than God, then you’ll need to “smash it” later. So just walk away now.
3. Don’t say God’s name unless you mean it and are really talking to Him or about Him. Some people say God’s name just because they hear others do it — just as something to say to be dramatic, whether they are trying to show they are mad or surprised or even happy. But saying “God this” or “God that”, “God bless you” or “God curse you” or just “God” in a meaningless way… that is all using God’s name in meaninglessness. And God said don’t do that.
4. Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Do you remember how God rested on the 7th day after He created everything? Well, every seventh day, the Sabbath day, He wanted everyone else to take that one day every week and set it apart to rest, rest, rest. He didn’t want them to just go, go, go and start thinking that their work was the most important, so He made it very clear that His people should respect Him about this and do no work on the Sabbath. (And later when Jesus Comes, the Sabbath Rest becomes something very special. So listen for it later.)
5. Treat your mom and dad respectfully. That means you treat your parents really, really great.
6. Don’t murder. That means you can’t just kill people because you want to or feel like it. You’re not the decision-maker of who lives or dies.
7. Don’t take someone’s wife or husband from them as your own.
8. Don’t steal. That means don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you.
9. Don’t lie about your neighbor or friend. That means don’t say they did something wrong if they really didn’t.
10. Don’t want things that your friend has or things you see that other people have. Don’t wish for their house or their stuff and don’t wish you had another person’s relationships as your own.
Those all sound like some helpful rules, don’t they? Yes, God loved these people and had a plan to help them learn what He was like and what sin was. So He made this Deal with them — His Covenant of Rules.