“Then God gave the people all these instructions: I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me.” (Exodus 20:1-3, NLT).
This verse is the preamble and the first of the Ten Commandments in Exodus Chapter 20. The Ten Commandments are sort of an executive summary of the expanded terms of God’s covenant with the Israelites in Chapters 21-23.
The terms of the covenant specified the behavior the Israelites were expected to demonstrate if they were to be in a covenant relationship with God Almighty. The first four commandments (vs. 2-11) described what our behavior should be in relation to God while the remaining six commandments (vs. 12-17) described what our behavior should be in relation to other human beings.
Because God is profoundly ethical, because He is the holy God, it is necessary that His people who are in a covenant with Him manifest His same character, His same behavior, in their relationship with Him and in their relationships with other human beings. To be in covenant with God is to become how God is and to do what God does! And Jesus set the standard and the example for us in this regard: “So Jesus explained, I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does also” (John 5:10).
As people who are in a covenant relationship with God, we can know what God is like and what God is doing and, consequently, what we should be like and what we should do, by studying God’s Word, the Bible, and by obeying the guidance and direction of His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us and speaks God’s Word to our hearts, minds and consciences.
You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. (Leviticus 20;26, NLT)