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The Israelites were still in the desert. It had been three months since they had left Egypt. They were camped beside a mountain when God told Moses He had something very important He wanted to tell His people.

God promised Moses that if the Israelites would follow His directions, they would live happier and healthier lives. He would bless them, and people in other nations would see how much God loved them, and they would want to know about God too.

The people promised, “We will do everything the Lord has said.”

Moses was to tell the people that God wanted to talk to them. He was to have them get ready to meet with God.

So the people washed their clothes and themselves.

Three days later God came to the top of the mountain in a cloud of thunder and lightning. The people heard loud trumpet blasts. They saw the mountain shake. They stood near the mountain, ready to meet with God. But they were afraid!

God didn’t want the Israelites to be afraid. He loved them. He spoke directly to them and told them about 10 special rules He wanted them to live by. We call those rules the Ten Commandments. Here they are:

  1. Love God the most, and don’t love things or people more than God.
  2. Worship only God; you don’t need idols or things to look at to worship Him.
  3. Speak God’s name with reverence and respect.
  4. Keep the Sabbath day a holy and special day spent with God each week.
  5. Treat your mother and father with respect and obedience.
  6. The life of others is important; don’t hate or hurt others. Care for those who are needy or hurting.
  7. Be faithful to the person you marry.
  8. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  9. Always tell the truth.
  10. Be happy with what you have; don’t want other people’s things.

Then God told Moses to come up to the top of the mountain. There God wrote those 10 important rules for happy living on stone tablets. God didn’t use a pencil or a pen. He wrote on the stone tablets with His finger!

Those rules sound good to me, don’t they to you? They tell us to love God and to love other people. God gave us rules to live by because He loves us. He promises that if we obey them, we will always be happy. When we obey God and live as He asks, we are worshiping Him. He will help us obey Him. Let’s remember to thank God for showing us how to live.