God’s revelation in Exodus begins with these words: “I am Adonai your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
Not through an oracle or a soothsayer, nor through a king or prophet, God spoke to the people.
The people knew this call was unique in the ancient world. It wasn’t about following the arbitrary whims of the gods to get one’s way. Rather it was to obey the Redeemer in order to be To Him a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
The people were asked, and assented to be, witnesses to a history of God’s transcendent intervention, beneficiaries of Divine grace, and followers of God’s instruction and expectations.
Out of a moment of eternal stillness, God’s words thunder down to us. God takes us as His people. We are to serve Him.
These words are far more than rules and laws. They’re guidance to us on how to follow God and how to live in the world with our fellow human beings – true to principles of justice and righteousness, mercy and lovingkindness.
What a radical idea it was then; what a radical idea it is today.