WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
SCRIPTURE: EXODUS 19
BY: Jeremy Witt
You may have some place for you that is spiritually special. For me, Falls Creek is that. I surrendered my life to “whatever God wants” there as a sophomore in high school, and felt God’s call to ministry there as a sophomore in college. As a student, many of my spiritual high points were found at Falls Creek. For the Israelites, Mount Sinai is one of these places. Moses met God here in a burning bush. Elijah heard God’s whisper here. It is here that God gave the people His Law and how God wanted them to live their lives. It is here where God reaffirmed His covenant with Israel. It is at Mount Sinai that God shared with the people why He freed them from slavery and what their purpose would be to the world. Read verses 4-6.
Since this is a devotion, let me encourage you to think about places that you heard the LORD. Write them down and maybe even on the inside of your Bible. Share these with your family. Remind yourself of what the LORD has done. Reminding ourselves what the LORD has done and where God did it is a great reminder for us when we lose focus or get “lost in the things of this world.”
Let’s go back to the Scriptures. Verses 5-6 is the conditional promise of God to the nation of Israel. If they would follow Him, they would be blessed. This is clarified later in Scripture, but God’s intent was to use Israel, not because of anything they did, but because of His love and mercy, God chose to use them in a special way. Just like us, God doesn’t need us, but He chooses to us if we will follow His ways and obey.
Verse 7 is where Moses tells the elders/leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel what God has said. In verse 8, the elders/leaders say that they will obey everything that the LORD commands. This begins the covenant relationship with the nation of Israel. Verse 9 stands out to me because it was so the people would hear God but also so that they would trust/believe Moses. Every leader needs to feel this trust/belief from his people in order to lead well.
In verses 10-25 God gives Moses instructions on what the people need to do in order to prepare to hear from the LORD. God is beginning to teach the people of Israel how to be pure and holy or set apart to become the priests of God. This is so critical for us today to understand. God always intended for the people of Israel to be the priests to the nations. This way God would show the world Himself through the Hebrew people. God would impact the nations through this small group of people who were different from the rest of the world. This is where the Law comes in, so that they would know how to be different. It is really easy for us to get caught up in some of these guidelines that God gave them, but if we will remember one of the purposes of the Law was to help the people to be pure and holy for God’s use. They dressed differently, they ate differently, they worked differently, and they worshipped differently. Remember back in Genesis 18:18 where God said “all the nations would be blessed” through Abraham’s descendents. The Law was given to the people to help them see God and to understand Him better, but also to help the nations to know Him through the nation of Israel. So how does that apply to us today? Go read 1Peter 2:9. Christ followers are to “royal priests” and we are to be holy and to impact the nations for Christ today.
The problem is that people disobeyed and corrupted God’s plan. They will wander in the wilderness for their sin, and ultimately will lose their nation for their sin. Yet God who is rich in love and mercy, will bring them back, just like God offers for each one of us when we sin. The nation of Israel is a great picture of God’s love, grace, and mercy.