The covenant confirmed and broken
The promise to Abram, and the covenant that God made with him in Genesis 15, are the base for the covenant that is made with his ascendants.
God sets the people of Israel apart as His holy and priestly people. He has delivered them from the slave house Egypt, and now He instructs them about life in covenant relationship with Him.
The Ten Commandments give direction to the life of the people who have God as King. The people are grateful for the deliverance and willing to do what He demands.
A solemn confirmation of the covenant takes place at the foot of mount Sinai.
Moses builds an altar and oxen are being sacrificed. He sprinkles half of their blood on the altar. The Israelites say:
"All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient".
Then Moses sprinkles the ‘blood of the covenant’ on the people. They now belong to God.
The ‘blood of the covenant’ foreshadows the blood of Jesus Christ, Who gave His life in our place.
Luke 22 verse 20.
Then Moses has to come up on the mountain to God to receive the two tablets of stone on which the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments.
Moses stays on the mountain for forty days and nights. Because of his long stay on the mountain the Israelites suspect something might have happened to Moses. Then they ‘desire gods who shall go before them’, and Aron makes a golden calf for them.
However, this is against the will of God. On the mountain He speaks to Moses, and commands him to descend, because ‘the people corrupted themselves’.
When Moses descends and sees the worship of the golden calf, ‘his anger burns hot and he throws the tablets out of his hands and breaks them at the foot of the mountain’.
This occurrence shows that the people were not able to keep Gods law.
In the New Testament the apostle Paul writes about the function of the law:
Galatians 3 verse 19:
Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.
Galatians 3 verse 24:
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
In chapter 1 to 8 of the letter to the Romans Paul goes into detail on law and gospel.