Moses called all Israel together. He said to them, Attention, Israel. Listen obediently to the rules and regulations I am delivering to your listening ears today. Learn them. Live them.
God, our God, made a covenant with us at Horeb.
God didn't just make this covenant with our parents; he made it also with us, with all of us who are alive right now.
God spoke to you personally out of the fire on the mountain.
At the time I stood between God and you, to tell you what God said. You were afraid, remember, of the fire and wouldn't climb the mountain. He said:
I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a house of slaves.
No other gods, only me.
No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim.
Don't bow down to them and don't serve them because I am God, your God, and I'm a most jealous God. I hold parents responsible for any sins they pass on to their children to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation.
But I'm lovingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won't put up with the irreverent use of his name.
No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you.
Work six days, doing everything you have to do,
but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day - no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you.
Don't ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength. That's why God, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest.
Respect your father and mother - God, your God, commands it! You'll have a long life; the land that God is giving you will treat you well.
No lies about your neighbor.
No coveting your neighbor's wife. And no lusting for his house, field, servant, maid, ox, or donkey either - nothing that belongs to your neighbor!
These are the words that God spoke to the whole congregation at the mountain. He spoke in a tremendous voice from the fire and cloud and dark mist. And that was it. No more words. Then he wrote them on two slabs of stone and gave them to me.
As it turned out, when you heard the Voice out of that dark cloud and saw the mountain on fire, you approached me, all the heads of your tribes and your leaders,
But why risk it further? This huge fire will devour us if we stay around any longer. If we hear God's voice anymore, we'll die for sure.
Has anyone ever known of anyone who has heard the Voice of God the way we have and lived to tell the story?
"From now on, you go and listen to what God, our God, says and then tell us what God tells you. We'll listen and we'll do it."
God heard what you said to me and told me, "I've heard what the people said to you. They're right - good and true words.
What I wouldn't give if they'd always feel this way, continuing to revere me and always keep all my commands; they'd have a good life forever, they and their children!
"Go ahead and tell them to go home to their tents.
But you, you stay here with me so I can tell you every commandment and all the rules and regulations that you must teach them so they'll know how to live in the land that I'm giving them as their own."
So be very careful to act exactly as God commands you. Don't veer off to the right or the left.
Walk straight down the road God commands so that you'll have a good life and live a long time in the land that you're about to possess.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)