Exodus – God’s Way Out!
Are we ready to meet God today?
Are we ready to hear Him speak to us?
God told Moses to tell the people to ceremoniously and physically clean up themselves so they could be at their best, ready to hear what God has to say to them. God wanted their full attention. He tells Moses to ask the people for complete commitment to Him. Their response?
“Everything God says, we will do.”
On the third day, God came down to His people.
Sound familiar? On the third day, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, alive, scarred by the battle of the payment for our sins, but alive…FULLY ALIVE. Jesus presented Himself to those who loved Him to show believers the power and glory of God before ascending back to God, the Father. Mission complete.
Are we ready to talk about all that Jesus did as we celebrate the THIRD DAY Christ arose from death to life?
Because of our relationship with God through Jesus, are we ready to point others to Jesus, ready to tell them how they, too, can be saved from all sins that tie them down and hold them from being all God created them to be?
Are we ready within ourselves? Have we repented to Jesus, made holy by Jesus so our relationship with God is intimate and forever?
Are we ready to meet God and listen to what He has to say? on His terms?
Are we ready to commit like the Israelites and say, “Everything God says we will do”?
Be ready. Say, I’m sorry for my sins to Jesus. He is ready for you with complete forgiveness. No regrets!
Be ready to meet God on His terms. He wants only His best for us.
On the third day…just be with Him who loves you beyond your wildest imagination. Set apart this day in communion with Him who loves you most.
On every level God was seeking to bring the people to the place where they would commit themselves to him without hesitation.
Chapters 19 and 20 must be presented together to understand God’s full message.
Exodus 19, The Message
1-2 Three months after leaving Egypt the Israelites entered the Wilderness of Sinai. They followed the route from Rephidim, arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai, and set up camp. Israel camped there facing the mountain.
3-6 As Moses went up to meet God, God called down to him from the mountain: “Speak to the House of Jacob, tell the People of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’
“This is what I want you to tell the People of Israel.”
7 Moses came back and called the elders of Israel together and set before them all these words which God had commanded him.
8 The people were unanimous in their response: “Everything God says, we will do.” Moses took the people’s answer back to God.
9 God said to Moses, “Get ready. I’m about to come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can listen in and trust you completely when I speak with you.” Again Moses reported the people’s answer to God.
10-13 God said to Moses, “Go to the people. For the next two days get these people ready to meet the Holy God. Have them scrub their clothes so that on the third day they’ll be fully prepared, because on the third day God will come down on Mount Sinai and make his presence known to all the people. Post boundaries for the people all around, telling them, ‘Warning! Don’t climb the mountain. Don’t even touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain dies—a certain death. And no one is to touch that person, he’s to be stoned. That’s right—stoned. Or shot with arrows, shot to death. Animal or man, whichever—put to death.’
“A long blast from the horn will signal that it’s safe to climb the mountain.”
14-15 Moses went down the mountain to the people and prepared them for the holy meeting. They gave their clothes a good scrubbing. Then he addressed the people: “Be ready in three days. Don’t sleep with a woman.”
16 On the third day at daybreak, there were loud claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, a thick cloud covering the mountain, and an ear-piercing trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp shuddered in fear.
17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God. They stood at attention at the base of the mountain.
18-20 Mount Sinai was all smoke because God had come down on it as fire. Smoke poured from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shuddered in huge spasms. The trumpet blasts grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. God descended to the peak of Mount Sinai. God called Moses up to the peak and Moses climbed up.
21-22 God said to Moses, “Go down. Warn the people not to break through the barricades to get a look at God lest many of them die. And the priests also, warn them to prepare themselves for the holy meeting, lest God break out against them.”
23 Moses said to God, “But the people can’t climb Mount Sinai. You’ve already warned us well telling us: ‘Post boundaries around the mountain. Respect the holy mountain.’”
24 God told him, “Go down and then bring Aaron back up with you. But make sure that the priests and the people don’t break through and come up to God, lest he break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people. He said to them:
1-2 God spoke all these words:
I am God, your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of a life of slavery.
3 No other gods, only me.
4-6 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, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
7 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.
8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
12 Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.
13 No murder.
14 No adultery.
15 No stealing.
16 No lies about your neighbor.
17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.
18-19 All the people, experiencing the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the smoking mountain, were afraid—they pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.”
20 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.”
21 The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
22-26 God said to Moses, “Give this Message to the People of Israel: ‘You’ve experienced firsthand how I spoke with you from Heaven. Don’t make gods of silver and gods of gold and then set them alongside me. Make me an earthen Altar. Sacrifice your Whole-Burnt-Offerings, your Peace-Offerings, your sheep, and your cattle on it. Every place where I cause my name to be honored in your worship, I’ll be there myself and bless you. If you use stones to make my Altar, don’t use dressed stones. If you use a chisel on the stones you’ll profane the Altar. Don’t use steps to climb to my Altar because that will expose your nakedness.’”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
God commands our full attention. He is jealous, not like human jealousy, but far beyond our thinking. He loves us so much that when sin threatens our relationship with Him, He burns with passion for us. This is the love of God.
God reminds the people of their experience of the consequences of disobedience (“what I did to Egypt”) and obedience (“how I carried you”), and offers them a special relationship to himself in which they will function as his specially chosen priests.
Those who make a verbal commitment need to confirm that commitment with some form of action (vv.10-15). Three kinds of activity are enjoined here: washing (v.10), establishing of limits (vv.12-13), and sexual abstinence (v.15). All are associated with ritual purification. These actions conveyed the sense that an extraordinarily solemn moment was upon them. They also expressed a preliminary kind of obedience. Having obeyed in these matters, they would be more likely to obey in others later.
Preparations for the covenant were capped with a series of visual and auditory effects (vv.16-19). These combined to produce a sense of awe and wonder in the people. Whatever else they might think about the covenant that God was about to offer them, they were not likely to dismiss it as something trivial and ordinary. Later Moses would remind the people that no one else had ever heard the audible voice of God (Dt 4:33, 36). This covenant was unique.
God’s final preparation was to underline to Moses his deadly nature for any humans who are not especially prepared to meet him. Not even the ordinary priests could survive. Casual familiarity with the Most High is a dangerous thing (see 2 Samuel 6:6-7). God knows our hearts!
CHAPTER 20 – “THE LAW”
The presentation of the covenant has four parts:
(1) the prologue (20:1-2);
God, who had become their God by virtue of what he had done for them in Egypt, offers it. Covenant-keeping is not a means of entering a relationship with God. Rather, it is the way an already existing relationship, one created solely by God’s gracious intervention in their history, and is lived out.
(2) a summary of the requirements for the people (20:3-17);
This summarizes in ten absolute commands what God expects of his people. God’s people have lived in a land where there are many gods. He is teaching them there is only One God. “You are My people and I will be your God” we will hear often in the Old Testament writings. Where only one God exists, his will is absolute.
The importance of these commands can hardly be overstated. If indeed their Author is the Author of all existence, as the Bible maintains, then this cursory expression of his expectations for his covenant people is also an expression of the norms of human life. They express what we cannot do and still cherish life.
(3) expanded requirements for the people (20:22-23:19);
The final commandment (20:17) brings the whole series around full circle. It is the human lust for acquisitions, especially acquisition at the expense of another, that is at the heart of idolatrous religion (Isa 57:17; Col 3:5). God is reduced to gods—a device for getting what we want. Our parents, our spouse, and our neighbor become merely aids or hindrances to that lust to possess. To all of this the Creator pronounces a thunderous “No!”
(4) God’s commitment (23:20-33).
Parts 2 and 3 encompass what we know as “the law.” Here we see the law in its correct context. Obedience to it is a response to God’s grace shown through his past deliverance and his future promises.
The stipulations section of the covenant closes with God’s commitment to his people. In response to their continued covenant obedience, he would wipe out their enemies, and give them long, abundant lives, establishing them within spacious borders.
The only obstacles to this promise of blessing would be rebellion against God and the worship of the gods of their defeated enemies.
One of the reasons for worshiping the pagan gods was their supposed ability to provide these blessings. But God is the only one who can truly provide them.
Who do we worship? (Seriously) Do we REALLY believe that what we believe is really real?
Do we have any gods that stand in the way of worshiping the One and Only God?
As we celebrate THE THIRD DAY, the resurrection of Jesus, in our homes, may we pause to remember who God is, why He sent His Son to save us, and ponder the depth of His love.
“Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” —John 10:10, The Message
I believe. I really believe that what you say is The Way to Truth that leads to Life eternal. You are God, the One and Only and we are not.
In Jesus Name, Amen.