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Covenants of God – Lesson 5: The Covenant with Moses

Memory Verse: “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.” —Deuteronomy 4:5

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-24


The Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God on two tables of stone, and Moses was told to put those tables inside the “ark of the covenant,” while the book containing ordinances, statutes and judgments, was placed in the side of the “ark” (Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15-16; Deuteronomy 10:1-5; Deuteronomy 31:26). There has been much confusion regarding the laws given to Moses. Although there is no definite record that the Ten Commandments had been given in written form prior to Sinai, they were known to Abraham to whom the covenant of promise was made (Genesis 26:5). Also, the fourth commandment was known to the Israelites when the manna was given, before reaching Sinai, and those doubting were fully convinced when they found no manna on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:22-30).

Laws regarding penalties, atonement, sacrifices, shadows and types, compose the “added law” (Galatians 3:19) made necessary by the transgression of the law written on the tables of stone. The Mosaic code was given to aid in understanding the atonement to be made by Christ. Those regarding atonement, sacrifices, penalties, and shadows, served their purpose when Christ died on the cross, and therefore came to an end (Colossians 2:14-17).

Moses received the “divine law” which God gave so that Israel, so long “out of touch with God” while in Egypt, could know of the inheritance and redemption from sin. Through that “divine law” Israel learned that they were dealing with Jehovah God who would not condone sin—that He was righteous and holy. The moral law, i.e. the Ten Commandments set forth in writing the righteous standard of God, is everlasting: while ceremonial, remedial, sacrificial, shadowy and typical regulations dealt with religious observances concerning the atonement for the transgressions of the Ten Commandments, these were terminated at the cross.

There is nothing contrary to the covenant with Abraham in the instructions given to Moses. The Patriarchs before him knew the need of sacrifices for the pardon of sins. Although the people, while in Egypt, may not have had opportunity to continue the worship of God as He directed, yet they know of the offerings of animals. Moses gave the code governing sacrifices as God instructed and faith in God’s “Plan of Redemption” was held before them. Their lack of faith however, caused them much trouble.

There were other writings by Moses pertaining to Israel that contained civil duties and warnings against adopting the ways and customs of the inhabitants of Canaan. There were rules regarding health, how to deal with leprosy, the training of children in the home, and many other matters that pertained to the nation’s life. There were incorporated in those laws principles of living that are still good today, which promote more effectively the cause of Christ in the earth.

Study Questions:

  1. What was the significance of circumstances surrounding the birth of Moses? Exodus 2:1-10.
  2. What caused Moses to flee from Egypt and what did he do in Midian? Exodus 2:11-15; Exodus 3:1.
  3. In view of Exodus 3:11, how was Moses changed from the attitude he had when he fled from Egypt? Acts 7:22-29; Numbers 13:3. What choice did Moses make? Hebrews 11:24-27.
  4. Relate the unusual experience of Moses when God spoke to him through the “burning bush.” What commission was he asked to accept? Exodus 3:1-10.
  5. What covenant agreement/promise did God make with Moses when He asked him to lead Israel from Egypt? Exodus 3:10-12; Exodus 4:10-17.
  6. According to what words did God make a covenant with Moses? Exodus 34:27-28.
  7. Why did Moses and so many of Israel fail to enter Canaan? Numbers 20:7-13; Hebrews 3:15-19.
  8. For a time Israel prospered in Egypt without oppression, would Israel have wanted to leave Egypt without the oppression they came under? Exodus 1:7-14; Acts 7:17. What present-day application may be made in view of this idea?