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“Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” – Exodus 19:3-6
From the time God first planned creation, He had a purpose in mind: to create a race of people whom He could draw near to and bless. God’s desire from the beginning was to share the infinite abundance of Himself and the overflow of His heart with people that they may be blessed. So He created the heavens and the earth, and Adam and Eve, and gave them all that He had created in the universe to them as gifts. He walked in the Garden with them, engaging intimately with them, pouring out His love to them. But Adam and Eve chose to break away from this loving relationship, to rebel and run away to hide from God.
This is our story as well, for we have carried on the same acts toward God as our ancestors Adam and Eve. We have disobeyed God. We have run and hidden from Him. The human race is split apart from God and His love.
And so God set out on a new plan, a plan to rescue and reclaim rebellious people for His love. This story begins already in Genesis 12 where God chooses Abraham to become the man who would transmit God’s blessings to the human race. God said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
Here again we see God’s passion for pouring out blessings on the human race. But there is something new and even more incredible here. Unlike at creation, this time God is making his promises and pouring out his gifts on a sinful people. But our rebellion and sin does not dampen God’s enthusiasm for loving us and bringing us back to Himself! He is determined to break through to us and fill our lives with gifts no matter how far from Him we run…or how fast!
Exodus is the account of stage 2 of God’s rescue plan. Having chosen Abraham and making his descendants into an entire nation called Israel, and settling that nation into Egypt to protect them from terrible famine, God now calls them to come out of Egypt and inherit a land that He will give them, a land of abundance, a land of milk and honey. But Egypt’s king, Pharaoh, refuses and resists. And so God wrestles with Pharaoh who was determined to keep Israel in slavery and so prove that he was stronger than God. But nothing can stop God from blessing his people! Not even the mightiest king or the most awesome military force on the face of the earth. The stronger Pharaoh fights, the stronger God responds with miracles and power, until His people are freed and come out of Egypt.
God leads them through the wilderness and to the sacred mountain Sinai where He chooses to draw near to them and make His infinite abundance known to them that they might be loved and blessed. This is what takes place at Mt. Sinai: God draws near to His people and gives them His Words of instruction and guidance (this is what the Law really is—Life Instruction) so that they may know how to walk with Him, stay close to Him, and so forever after receive his love and blessing. God says to Israel in these words of the Law, “Here is how to live so that you stay close to Me and can receive the fullness of my gifts to you. Here is how to live so that others around you are filled with My love and blessings!” And so God gave Israel His law, all of which can be summarized in two simple sentences: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind. And love one another!” It is neither hard to understand nor complex. This is what holiness means: loving God and others. Everything about the Law is fulfilled in these words.
Stay close to God and stay close to others. And God will delight to stay close to you!
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” James 4:8
Contributed by Mike Johnson[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]