“Time to meet your maker (a)”
II.) Vs. 1-6 Do you know how much I love you?
By the 19th chapter of Exodus and Israel’s arrival at Mount Sinai, (where they will remain until the 10th chapter of the book of numbers), 11 months or 57 chapters of scripture will be devoted to their time at the mountain. This will be their first encounter with God! Sooner or later every Christian will ponder their life, they will say, “What is this Christian life all about, why did He save me?” Along with this there is the companion question of, “What does God want from me?” We are at this point in our journey through the book of Exodus. The difference here in our text is that it is not the Israelites that ask the questions it is the Lord that answers them.
Israel had to learn that they were a nation and not Egypt’s work force. Freedom, is what nations, movements, and people long for. When people describe freedom today they do so with a selfish twist, “The ability to do what you want when you want!” That’s not freedom it’s anarchy. God describes freedom in terms of a covenant, a marriage between Himself and the nation. As we look at this passage pay close attention to how God won the heart of Israel, for it is in God’s heart that we will experience ultimate freedom.
II.) Vs. 1-6 Do you know how much I love you?
Vs. 1-2 According to these verses, three months have passed making this the month of June when they finally arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. This would have been the approximate time later that the feast of Pentecost would have taken place. The significance of that in light of Church history, sheds light on what is before Israel. This journey very much mirrors our own journey.
They left Rephidim, (rest stop) and traveled thirty miles arriving at a small stretch of land 2 ½ miles long by ½ mile wide, that jetted right before it was a solid granite mountain known as Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb. Though this was to be a special time in their lives the surroundings would not have indicated that. In our own lives we shouldn’t put any importance on our surroundings as a gage to spiritual growth. We are right where God wants you to be. There are no short cuts, no ways to skip a step. If you try to do this, you will only find yourself repeating the journey.
This nation had been set free from bondage from the mightiest nation in the world; for three months God was guiding them to this place.
- Through the Red Sea
- Through the search for food and water
- Through the victory over the Amalekites
The Lord orchestrated every step, He knew exactly where He was taking them, but they had no clue. Israel set out on their journey according to the commandment of the Lord. This reveals a powerful truth: God has not just called us out of something; He has called us to something. The “something”, as we shall see, is really Himself! All of what we go through is God guiding us to a deeper relationship to himself!
Vs. 3-4 God led Moses back to the place where he had first encountered Him at the burning bush. The Lord address’s the nation of Israel as “the house of Jacob”. Israel was the name God had given Jacob after he had surrendered his life to the Lord. His name prior to that was Jacob as he was the weakest most carnal of their forefathers. God knew that there were some like Israel and some like old Jacob. Two things come to mind as I read this:
- Israel was more like Jacob then Abraham: They were not men of faith as was Abraham, instead they were connivers like Jacob and God knew that about them.
- God still wanted to reach those who were still in the flesh: God has a desire to draw you to Himself no matter where you are! And the processes are the same for both.
Vs. 4 God is going to reveal His purpose and plan for the nation, but before He Does He reminds them of three things that He already has done for them, the last of which was fulfilled that very day. Notice the words, “You have seen..”, as God is appealing to their own personal experience saying, “Come on now you saw what happened!” The truth is: Before God can reveal what His plans for the future are He has to get them to recognize and appreciate what He has already done for them. We are often self-absorbed worrying about tomorrow that we don’t realize what God has already done for us.
- “What I did to Egypt”: God defeated the mightiest nation in the world. He had set them FREE! In our life, God has set us free from the things of the world that held us, no matter how mighty they were God defeated them all at the cross. For Israel, all they had ever known was a life of slavery then by God’s outstretched hand he delivered them.
- “How I bore you on eagles’ wings”: This is a reference to their three-month journey. God had led them away from battle when they were not ready, destroyed Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, provided food and water then defeated the Amalekites. Eagles are taught to fly in a most remarkable way. The mother simply destroys the nest around them, as they have no place to rest they have to fly. They flap their wings and head out all under the watchful eye of their mother. Then just as it seems that they will crash to their deaths she swoops down and bears them up on her wings. This is repeated until they learn to fly. God says here that this is how He has dealt with them. He has taken them out of their comfort zone to teach them to fly. The trials we face are part of the process to get us to try our wings in Him! But where are we to fly too?
- “And brought you to Myself”: That’s the destination! The journey has a purpose to bring you closer to the Lord! God is not concerned with your temporal happiness He is interesting in drawing you nearer to Himself! God does not just deliver us out of bondage, He has delivered you not only FROM, but TO! Salvation is not fire insurance it’s a relationship.
Vs. 5-6 Those three things God had done for them should have revealed what He has for them. The next two verse God shares how He sees them and how they can experience the benefits of how He sees them.
Fist notice the words, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be..” There are three points of interest here:
- “If you”: This reveals that the benefits of this were conditioned upon them. They would not experience this unless they fulfilled their part, obeying His voice and keeping His covenant.
- “My covenant”: God is proposing to them! He is the initiator of the contract, one in which they have already benefited.
- “Obey My voice….keep My covenant”: The way to experience all the benefits of this relationship is clearly stated, “Stay in the Word of God!” Apart from knowing and obeying the Word of God we will never experience the blessings of our relationship to the Lord.
God is not saying, “Never blow it or your out!” He is saying, “If you want to experience all of Me then don’t break off the relationship.” It is God that will preserve the relationship. It is as Jude said, “to keep yourselves in the love of God.” As Jude goes on to say it is God, “who is able to keep you from stumbling.” With in six weeks of this they will all be having an idolatrous orgy around an idol of a golden calf! The reason they fall back into the world is that they failed to see themselves in the threefold way that God saw them.
- “A special treasure”: God wanted them to know that He saw them as a Kings most prized jewel. All the nations belonged to Him because He is their maker and sustainer, but He choose Israel to be His special treasure. Not that Israel was the best looking or most talented? Scriptures tells us that it was quite the opposite. Moses writing in Deut. 7:7 declares, “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;” God sees us as His prized possession! You are His pearl of great price! Paul writes some thing similar to the Ephesians when he prays that they would know the riches of the glory of Gods inheritance in the saints.
- “Kingdom of priests”: God desired that every one of them would be able to come into His presence. Not just the High Priest once a year but every believer. Israel was to be a light to the gentiles, the way in which they lived was to reveal that there is no other true and living God. They were to live so that the world would know that the best way to experience the fullness of what life is in serving the living God. Instead they were influenced by the nations around them.
- “Holy nation”: A nation set apart from the rest of the world, fit for God’s purposes. They were to be living advertisements of God’s grace and power. It is amazing to read these words, “kingdom and nation” with the words, “priests and holy”. In God’s plan there is not separation of Church and state. We all are to serve at the pleasure of our King!
The question then arises, “How then shall we live as His special treasure, priests and holy nation?” The priests were to offer up the bodies of sacrifices upon the alter which was acceptable to the Lord. In the book of Hebrews, we are told that Jesus as our great High priest offered Himself once and for all. Rom. 12:1 tells us that we are to, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” What a picture! We offer our bodies to the Lord. “Lord, here is my broken down old carcass. I’ve trashed it with self centered living, caused problems with others with it, had millions of sinful thoughts go through it, are you sure you want it?” And the Lord says, “I’ll take it, My Son died for that carcass and He has made it beautiful.” Our offering of our bodies does NOT atone for our sin or anyone else’s but it does point other to Him. God wanted them to realize that what he did for them makes them who they now are! Further more what we now do must be based upon His perception of who we are.