Monday, June 08, 2015

What God Provides & Wants From His People - Exodus 19, 20

Jesus is our great Liberator. He fulfilled God’s legal demands by His sinless life and by taking our punishment on the cross. 

            In Exodus, God’s people are liberated from slavery and need a land and a law of their own. God’s Law was a gracious gift of guidance and a reminder of our need for grace. None of us fully keep His Law, which “is holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:11). By showing us His heart and our failings, God uses the Law to lead us to Jesus. Here are God’s “Big Ten” that Moses conveyed to the forming nation of Israel, from Exodus 20.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath… You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house… your neighbor's wife… or anything that is your neighbor's.”  (ESV)

What God Provides & Wants From His People
The Birth of HIS Nation: Our Role (Ex. 16-20)

            What are the bare essentials needed to start a nation? For a cheat sheet, read Exodus, see what God provides for His newly liberated people. Delivered to serve Him, they are prepared to be His nation. Along with water, food and skilled leadership (Ex. 16-18),

God lays out His vision for them. “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4-6 - ESV)

Ø  He tenderly Rescued us to Himself  (Ps. 78:13, 52, 53; 100:3)
Ø  Being His Chosen Ones Requires Obedience (Jn. 14:15-23; Mt. 7:24-28)
Ø  We’re Set Apart: His Priests & Holy Ones (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 1 Pet. 2:5-10)

After preparing them to reverently receive His Word (Ex. 19), He gives “the Decalogue”, His Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; see Vine Front), telling us how to Love Him & Others.

Ø  He is to be our only God! No crafting, serving idols! (Josh. 24:14, 15)

Ø  God is rightfully jealous of our sole affection: “…I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”   (20:5, 6)
Ø  To not make Him exclusively Lord is to hate Him (Mt. 6:24)
Ø  Loving Him is displayed by honoring, obeying Him (Laws #1-4)
Ø  Love others too! The 2nd Tablet of Law (# 5-10; cf. Mt. 22:36-40) 

Receiving His Law, Israel exemplifies holy fear: “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.  (20:18-21 – ESV)

Ø  We are to Revere His Word  (cf. Is. 66:2; Ps. 1 & 119)
Ø  Loving Obedience allays fear (Jn. 15:8-16; 1 Jn. 4:18) 
Ø  His Word tests us (Dt. 8:2, 16; Jer. 6:27; 2 Chron. 32:31)
Ø  Love is Proven by Obeying (Dt. 7:9; 11:13; Dan. 9:4; Mk. 12:28-34) 

            As Joshua also charged them: “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."  (Josh 24:14, 15 – NIV)