4 The LORD spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. 5 (At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:
Thoughts: The Lord spoke and "He said." The scriptures say that these laws are from God. The test of time says these laws have been beneficial to humankind and are unique in both their impact, wording, brevity, abiltiy to enable people to get along, and content. Christians and Jews have believed these words are not just human words, but God's words- convicting us of our shortfalls, restraining our sins, and guiding us into His will. Moses shows here what a prophet/priest does- they stand between God and humans; God speaks to the prophet who speaks to the people. But the prophet's words are not their own- they are God's words that are merely conveyed by that prophet. In saying this, it takes a measure of faith to recognize that the prophet speaks for God; and a measure of faith that what is written in the Bible are really the words of the prophet. In the end, the Holy Spirit enables us to have faith that the words are really God's word, and apply to our lives. Without this, the Ten Commands indeed become only ten suggestions, and may be criticized for not being what we want.
Prayer: May I have faith, Lord, to hear you speak. Speak to my heart and draw me to yourself.
John Calvin Abridged: When God manifests Himself, there is no doubt about the author of the Law. God also confirms that it is His voice by speaking from the fire. God speaks in a person who is a mediator, because the people were afraid to hear God's [thundering] voice.