TODAY’S READING: Exodus 22–24
God did not begin to make things up on Mt. Sinai. Previously, He asked the Sabbath to be honored (Exo. 16:27–30), and the precedent for that went all the way back to creation and God’s example. Murder was taboo since Cain. Much of the structure of the law given from the mountain echoed the Code of Hammurabi (1792–1750 BC), and the format of “if…then” (called case law) was common to other cultures of the period. The fact that the Sinaitic law was similar to other codes of the day—which is far from being problematic—is evidence of law and truth coming from a common origin and heading to a common climax. These commonalities are direct evidence of a literal Adam, and a common ancestry and understanding that all truth is God’s truth. The commonalities prophesy and morally endorse a final eschatological judgment of all mankind—by the only One wise and true enough to make and uphold these universal laws.
Both God’s truth and God’s salvation are universal. John York writes,
“One demonstration of the Law given through Moses is to favorably demonstrate life in the fear of the Lord… This distinctive way of life was a means of instructing the nations. The entire covenant at Sinai should be understood as a treaty deliberately enacted according to the prevailing treaty format of the day: a sovereign king entering into a covenant with a vassal…. Since holiness necessarily involves separation to the purposes of God, it follows that God was revealing His will that Israel bless the nations by both proclaiming His covenant to them and interceding on their behalf.”
Since Jehovah is King of all the earth, King of all peoples, He expects and desires to have similar relationship with them as He has with Israel. Israel is the example, the shining light to the nations: Look how wonderful it is to serve Jehovah! Look how fulfilling it is to fear the King of kings! God’s blessing on Israel is intended to provoke a holy jealousy, to exemplify to the nations how sweet covenant relationship with the one true God is. All nations are invited to taste and see that Jehovah is good—even North Korea, especially North Korea.
This invitation of Jehovah is not one to be negotiated or taken lightly. The God of Mt. Sinai should not be provoked (23:21). He sends His fear ahead of Him (v. 27), and He is a consuming fire (24:17). This God of fear and fire makes no covenant with false gods (23:32) and will overthrow all false religions completely (v. 24). The missionary call is an inclusive and universal one, even as it is an uncompromising one. All (Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites) are welcome, but all must come bowing and all must check their idols at the door. We fall with no conditions at Jehovah’s feet. He does not fall at ours.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 94–95.
John V. York. Missions in the Age of the Spirit. Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 2001. 27–28.