Exodus 19 - Moses Prepares the People
Three months after the Israelites left Egypt, they entered the Desert of Sinai and camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up the mountain where the Lord spoke to him. He was to tell the people that they had seen for themselves what God had done and how He had carried them on eagles' wings and brought them to Himself. If they fully obeyed Him and kept His covenant, they would be God's treasured possession, they would be a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
What does it mean, "I carried you on eagles' wings?" God protected them like a mother eagle protects her young. They were carried out of danger showing He cares and guards them and for us. He hovers over us all the time like a mother eagle constantly protects her young. He drew them to Himself. His ultimate purpose is to draw us to Himself. We need His strength to lift us up. He gives a conditional covenant. He gives His blessings, but along with that He gives responsibilities.
God recounted His love for them and how He rescued them. Now Moses was to prepare them to receive His Law, the 10 Commandments. Moses went back to the people and told them what God had said and they agreed to do everything the Lord said. They meant what they said, but God knew they would not be able to keep all His commandments. He knows that we cannot keep all His commandments so He sent Jesus.
How hove you responded to God's blessings?
God said He would bring a dense cloud to the people so they would hear Him talking with Moses and put their trust in him. The Lord told Moses to consecrate the people. They were to wash their clothes and be ready by the 3rd day, because that's when He would come down in the sight of the people. The people were not to go up the mountain or even touch the foot of it or they would die. Only when the trumpet sounded a long blast could they go up the mountain. So Moses did just as the Lord said.
Washing of clothes is only an outward sign, but on the inside their hearts needed to be clean. It showed the people the holiness of God and their own need for holiness. It was a matter of denying self and focusing on God. We can prepare ourselves for His presence by dealing with jealousy, prejudice, etc. Confess it so you can have a relationship with Him. Get rid of anything that keeps you from focusing on God.
On the 3rd day the mountain was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire. There was a trumpet that grew louder and louder. Moses went up the mountain and God said for him to go down and warn the people to not force their way through to see Him or they would perish. Even the priests must consecrate themselves. God put limits around the mountain because it was set apart as holy.
He warns them several times not to go up or touch the mountain. Now, because of Jesus we can approach Him without fear. We learn that God is holy and we are to be in awe of Him. He also calls us to be holy. "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" - 1 Peter 1:15-16. God has made a provision for sinful people to come into His presence. Because of His love for us, He sent His son, Jesus, to die for us while we were still sinners. Now we are not held guilty. He gives us His grace.
How are you prepared to hear from God?What things do you need to do to be able to hear Him?
How do you live differently based on Scripture?
Principle: God calls us to live in a way that demonstrates His holy character to an unholy world.
We are to live differently than the rest of the world. We are His royal priesthood. He calls us to be obedient, but salvation is not based on obedience. Salvation is based on our belief in Jesus Christ.
What area are you blending in with the world?Do your words reflect God's holiness?
Exodus 20:1-17 - God Gives the 1o Commandments
Then God spoke the Law to Moses. We call this the 10 commandments. God is the God that redeemed them and He is the one who sets the standards.
The 1st 4 commandments apply to the people's relationship with God. They either give a warning or a promise.
#1 "You shall have no other gods before me." - Ex. 20:3.
God demands our exclusive worship with only Him. We are to put God first in our thoughts, our relationships, our work, our leisure, and every part of our lives.
#2 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything....You shall not bow down to them or worship them..." - Ex. 20:4-6.
Images dishonor God. They mislead and can be harmful. Nothing is all of creations can adequately represent the glory of God.
#3 "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God..." - Ex. 20:7.
The name of God represents the nature of God. Jesus taught us how to pray in the Lord's Prayer by saying, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." - Matt. 6:9. Hallow means to set apart as holy. When we misuse God's name we are dishonoring Him. There are many names for God: Yahweh, The Word, The True Bread, The Good Shepherd, The Lamb of God, Creator, Our Comforter, Redeemer, Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, A Living Stone, High Priest, and the list goes on.
Today there are many people who misuse the name of the Lord. Almost every TV show, movie, commercial, your acquaintances say, "O my god!" It is common language and a bad, bad habit. I cringe every time I hear someone say that. Don't they know they are misusing God's holy name?
#4 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy..." - Ex. 20:8-11.
God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. He wants us to rest on the 7th day, too. We work had all week and we need a day to be refreshed and remember God and how He has provided for us. We are to remember Him and worship Him and Him alone. We are to set aside a day whether it be Sunday or Saturday or whatever and make it different from all the other days of the week. We are to worship God.
The last 6 commandments apply to relationships with other people.
#5 "Honor your father and your mother..." - Ex. 20:12.
This command tells us that family is important. If the family is strong, then the culture is strong. Do you honor your parents with your conversations? There is no age limit for honoring parents.
#6 "You shall not murder." - Ex. 20:13.
This not only means do not kill, but also has another meaning. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” - Matt. 5:21-22. Words can damage others. Gossip, slander, showing jealousy, etc. are words of murder.
#7 "You shall not commit adultery." - Ex. 20:14.
Today sex is glamorized. It is portrayed as normal to live together without marriage. Sex scenes are all you see on TV and in movies. We as Christians should not bow to this standard. We are to hold the standards of the Bible. We cannot do it alone. We need to admit our weaknesses and keep our focus on Jesus. Be careful what you read and watch.
#8 "You shall not steal." - Ex. 20:15. Do you take credit for what someone else has done? Do you cheat on your taxes? Do you steal from your employer by wasting time or not giving your best?
#9 "You shall not give false testimony...." - Ex. 20:16. This includes all forms of slander, gossip, and any distortions of the truth. Do you sometimes stretch the truth? Even a partial truth is a lie.
#10 "You shall not covet..." - Ex. 20:17. We are to be satisfied with what we have. Today the world is obsessed with materialism. It's not wrong to want to improve your situation in life, but it is wrong to want something simply because another person has it. Coveting always leads to other sins.
Principle: Obedience to God's commands is always the best choice.
Exodus 20:18-26 - God Gives Sacrifice Instructions
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet, they were afraid. They no longer wanted to hear from God. They recognized they were a mess and were afraid. Moses feared and moved. He focused on God. The people feared and it paralyzed them.
God told Moses to tell the people to not make any gods alongside Him or any gods of silver or gold. They were to make an altar for God and offer sacrifices. They were not to make it with dressed stone. If they had done that, it would probably take away their focus on God and put their focus on the altar itself or the one who carved it.
Principle: God's commands reveal our need for Jesus Christ as Savior.
The purpose of the law is to show us God's character and awaken our own sinfulness. We cannot keep all the commandments, but through the blood of Jesus we are held sinless and not guilty. Sin requires a sacrifice and the penalty for sin is death. Jesus is our sacrifice. His life death, and resurrection made those who believe in Him righteous in the sight of God. Righteousness comes only through faith in the One and only perfect sacrifice, Jesus. He is our Savior.
What is your response to Jesus?Will you allow your holy fear draw you near to Him?
Will you fear God enough not to sin even when no one is looking?
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