Parts of this are probably pretty familiar to most of you. This is the first time Israel gets a look at the terms of the relationship they are entering into with God. There are three major themes.
God if first, highest, best, and jealous. God prioritizes His relationship with them as above all others. He is not like other gods. He doesn't share. He cares what you care about. He can't be imaged and worship of Him is to be pure and singleminded. If you want something supernatural, get it from Him and only Him. He gets part of everything returned to Him, including your time, because it all comes from Him in the first place.
Authority exists, with God as the highest, best and kindest authority. He will be the final arbiter of all disputes, but there are other authorities that can be used to address injustice. God is honest so his people need to be honest too.
Treat each other right. Don't take each other's stuff. Don't even want each other's stuff. If a man has nothing else to pay his debts with he can offer his own labor or the labor of his family for a period of time, but there are limits to that relationship. There are consequences when you hurt someone else.
The king was to write out all of the rules so that he would have his own personal copy to read each day. Joshua was told to be careful to keep all of the words of the law and read them continually. These kinds of rules were the laws they were talking about. They show how profoundly God understands the nature of the relationships we walk in each day. (I've used Ex 21:15 and 17 as threats).
I'm convinced that the saddest verse in the entire Bible is Exodus 20:19:
"19 And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”
I understand their fear, but not their reaction. Yes, God is big and powerful and can be scary. That's no reason to run away. This is the God that just rescued you from slavery and feeds you every day. You need to know who He is.
One of the things I've asked this year is to have the courage to stand boldly in His Glory because of the sacrifice He made for me. I know He is overwhelming, but He is good. I know I have no right outside of His grace, but I want to fully accept that grace. Job once said, "Though He slay me, still I'll trust in Him." I want His presence, even if it means tremendous sacrifice because He is worthy. Better to be slain in His presence than spend even a moment without Him. He is worth it.
Would you want to run or want to stay?