The people of Israel traveled through the desert for three months. When they arrived at a mountain called Sinai, they set up camp. The women were glad they could rest and take care of the children. The men counted the animals, then set up the tents. Soon the smell of food filled the air.
In the evening Moses wandered among the families. The children ran up to him and he gave them all a pat on the head. After Moses greeted the people, he turned toward the mountain. Moses knew God wanted to meet him there. As Moses climbed the cliffs, he heard God calling to him.
“Moses, tell the people that if they obey me, they will be my special people.”
Moses climbed down the mountain, called the leaders of the people together and told them what God had said. There was a great crowd. The men all held torches as Moses spoke to them.
“The Lord God has chosen you. Will you follow and obey Him?”
A loud cheer rose from the crowd.
“We will do whatever the Lord says!”
A few days later Moses and Aaron climbed the cliffs. The mountain was covered with smoke and there was a sound like a huge trumpet playing from the cloud. The people could hear the blast but could not see where it came from. They trembled in fright. This was a great moment for the people of Israel for God had come to meet them.
Once Moses and Aaron were on the mountain, God came down to meet them in a cloud of smoke and fire. God wanted to give the people a set of laws, or commandments. They could learn and shape their lives around these rules thus learning the difference between right and wrong. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
“Tell the people,” God said, “I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves. Worship no one but Me. I will be your only God. Do not make statues and worship them.
“Do not swear, or not say my name just to impress other people. Only use my name when you are praying.
“Keep the seventh day in the week for resting and do not work on the Sabbath.
“Listen to what your father and mother say. Show them respect and honor and never, ever make fun of them.
“Never kill another person. Never try to take a man or woman away from his wife or her husband.
“Do not take anything which is not yours and do not lie or say false things about someone else or make things up. And do not spend all your time wishing for things you do not have.”
As God finished speaking, a sound like great trumpets filled the air. Moses stood face to face with God. God loved Moses very much. He wanted His people to know how much He cared for them, too.
God said. “I will keep you healthy. you will have many children. That way you will be strong when I lead you to the promised land.”
Moses had been deep inside the dark cloud, talking to God for a longtime. A few times he went down to check on the people. When God said He wanted to give Moses the Ten Commandments written on stone Moses stayed on the mountain with God for forty days and forty nights. All the people waited, and waited, and waited. When God finished telling all these things to Moses, He gave him two flat pieces of stone. God had written the rules on these stones Himself.