I’ve been reading through Genesis and Exodus lately. Whenever I read God’s Word I try to put myself in the place of the individual I am reading about or sometimes, like in the Exodus from Egypt, I try to put myself in the place of one of the Israelites. Considering what Israel had been exposed to in Egypt. their deliverance from slavery and the commencement of their journey through the wilderness towards the promised land, you’d think that there would be little doubt or hesitancy remaining with regard to trusting and following God.
After all, they’d heard from Moses and Aaron that God was going to free them from slavery, they had the history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s testimony about God’s covenant and involvement with them as a people, they’d witnessed the plagues imposed on Egypt while they were located in Goshen, including their own exclusion from these plagues. They’d seen God put Himself between them and the Egyptian army and provide them safe passage through the Red Sea. Water, manna and quail were provided to meet their basis needs. They witnessed the pillar of smoke by day and the pillar of fire by night go before them and God’s protection and deliverance from Amalek and his people’s attack at Rephidim. And during this time of grace (not unlike our own), God’s conditions to a covenant between God and Israel was beginning to unfold.
And then, there was the meeting between God and His chosen people on Mount Sinai. This is where it became personal in a whole new way. There was no mistaking who was offering what to whom. The implications of being holy in the presence of a holy God among them were identified, at least in part. Some might say that we experience the same thing when we come to the realization of who Jesus was and is and what He accomplished for us, through His death for us on the cross. But there was more.
Exodus 23 outlines the progressive pros and cons of this relationship. Some of the pros included:
- God would bless their food and water requirements
- God would remove sickness from among them
- Women would not suffer miscarriages
- Women would not be barren
- Long life would be given to everyone
- Israel’s enemies would flee from them
- The inhabitants of the land they were to obtain would be progressively driven out
- Their numbers and strength would progressively increase until they took full possession of their established borders
Most of us would say, what’s not to like. And the Israelites as one voice agreed, we will do everything that the Lord has said and we will be obedient (Exodus 24:7).
But we know it didn’t turn out quite the way it was anticipated.
The implications of being a holy people in communion with a Holy God had requirements and conditions that affected almost every aspect of their daily life. Sin was sin and a holy God does not ignore sin, a holy God cannot ignore sin. A holy God cannot tolerate sin. It’s just not who He is, He is light and there is no darkness in Him. There is no variance in Him and sin hasn’t changed. That is a reality. I don’t think we’ll ever fully comprehend that until we see God face to face. But Jesus personified our Father in heaven and we can “see” our heavenly Father throughout the ministry of Jesus, as detailed within the four Gospels. You recall that Jesus said, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
But before we point the finger at how quickly the Israelis failed to comprehend the significance and implications of their commitment, we would do well to consider our own failure to comprehend the significance and implications of our own commitment to our Lord. We’re quick to focus on the positives but slow to pick up on the negatives, the implications of not trusting in God, not unlike the Israelites of old.
Jesus gave us the Great Commission. He told us to be in the world but not of the world. We’re commanded to love one another. We’re commanded to be humble in our perspective about ourselves and think more highly of others. We’re commanded to treat others as we would like to be treated. We’re commanded to forgive others for their short comings so that our short comings can be forgiven. We’re commanded to love our enemies and to do good to them at every opportunity.
So how are we doing, how are we different from those who are in the world and of the world? How have we responded, in truth, to our own Mount Sinai?
I don’t know about you but I’m thinking that I have nothing to point my finger at, nothing at all.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!