Sunday, September 10, 2006

Exodus 19:4-6: A King and His People

Pray; Read Exodus 19:1-6
Textual Notes
Keil & Delitszch: Moses had known from the time of his call that Israel would serve God on this mountain (Exo_3:12); and as soon as the people were encamped opposite to it, he went up to God, i.e., up the mountain, to the top of which the cloud had probably withdrawn. There God gave him the necessary instructions for preparing for the covenant: first of all assuring him, that He had brought the Israelites to Himself to make them His own nation, and that He would speak to them from the mountain (Exo_19:4-9); and then ordering him to sanctify the people for this revelation of the Lord (Exo_19:10-15). The promise precedes the demand; for the grace of God always anticipates the wants of man, and does not demand before it has given. Jehovah spoke to Moses “from Mount Horeb.”

Moses had probably ascended one of the lower heights, whilst Jehovah is to be regarded as on the summit of the mountain. The words of God (Exo_19:4.) refer first of all to what He had done for the Egyptians, and how He had borne the Israelites on eagles' wings; manifesting in this way not only the separation between Israel and the Egyptians, but the adoption of Israel as the nation of His especial grace and favour. The “eagles' wings” are figurative, and denote the strong and loving care of God. The eagle watches over its young in the most careful manner, flying under them when it leads them from the nest, least they should fall upon the rocks, and be injured or destroyed (cf. Deu_32:11

INSIGHTS

1- In His grace, God moves us toward covenant and obedience.
“You yourselves have seen what I did, . . how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (19:4)

John Wesley: “I brought you unto myself - They were brought not only into a state of liberty, but into covenant and communion with God. This, God aims at in all the gracious methods of his providence and grace, to bring us back to himself, from whom we have revolted, and to bring us home to himself, in whom alone we can be happy.”

2- In His grace, obedience is the key to God’s covenant relationship.
“ Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant” (19:5)
It is the key to relationship in God’s covenant – they would be His treasured possession.

3- In His grace, we are His special covenantal treasure.
“unique possession” or “peculiar treasure” The Hebrew for peculiar means “moveable possession.”

Ken Hemphill: “The King James translation uses the phrase “peculiar people.” I like that. I have pastored long enough to know it is true; there are some peculiar people among God’s folks. The truth is, most of us fit that description rather well. But the Hebrew word seguli here means a movable property as opposed to real estate. In that day there were only two sorts of assets in a financial portfolio. There was real estate, the land that was so valuable to them, but also their possessions in terms of gold, silver, and precious stones. These were the two aspects of their property. God was saying to them that not only are they unique, not only His special possession, not only has He drawn them to Himself, but He has also called them as a movable possession, a unique possession, that He is going to scatter and move among the nations for His own intentionality and purpose.

God sovereignly moved us: To Liberia in three weeks. Two yrs ago this week, sovereignly back to SC. Then May 2005 sovereignly to Wake Forest in three weeks.

Are you his moveable possession? Are you open to moving with the Holy Spirit (John 3)? The Spirit is always moving and changing and transforming (Romans 12:1-2)? Are my wineskins flexible enough to change with the Lord? There is one constant in the universe: The Lord says, “I change not.” Everything else does. Life is about change. Get used to it. If you want to grow with the Lord, you have to be willing and accepting of change.

4- In His grace, God’s covenant gives us life purpose.
“you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (19:6)
priesthood of all the body of believers Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6

Ken Hemphill: In Ezekiel one of the indictments brought against the people is that when God sent them among the nations, they profaned His holy name. God sent them out to represent His name; they profaned it. Why do teenagers not share their faith on the campus? Why do businessmen and women not share their faith? It’s not because of lack of tools. It’s not because of fear. It’s because most of us know that our lifestyle will not bear up to our witness. Our teenagers look like, dress like, act like, and sleep around like secular kids. They cannot say, “I want you to see how Jesus changed my life.” So many times our families are so dysfunctional that they can’t witness to their neighbors because their neighbors hear what’s going on at night. It’s difficult to say, “I want you to go to church. Boy, it’s changed our life.” The neighbors are thinking, If it changed your life, I’d hate to have seen you before.

“Look at Isaiah 49:6. This is fascinating. He said, “It is not enough for you to be My Servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” This is not just a New Testament concept. It did not begin in Matthew 28:19–20. God’s intention always, from the
beginning of time, was that all the nations, all the tongues, and all the ethnic groups someday to acknowledge that He is Lord and worship Him.We see that fulfillment in the great Book of Revelation, but here he says it’s not enough that you are called to restore Israel. He said, “I’m not talking about a priestly people who will just minister to themselves. I’m talking about a priestly people who will go beyond that. They will call the nations to redemption; they will be such a light.” Do you remember Jesus’ image of salt and light, character and witness? He said, “I’m calling you to be a people of distinctive character. I’m calling you to be a people of bold witness so that you’ll be light to the nations and the nations will know.”

How do they glorify God in the day of visitation? They are transformed. The evidence of our life is so compelling that people come to us, and they see the transformation. Do people see the difference in your lifestyle? D they see the difference in how you treat your wife, how you treat your husband, how you relate to your children, how you relate to your boss and your colleagues? Do they see the distinctive lifestyle that is so radically different from anything else they’ve see in the culture that they are convinced God is among them? Does your lifestyle convict them of their sin so that they welcome God in the day of visitation? God is still seeking a people who will be radical and obedient to His Word, who will display His character through personal holiness, and will be committed to a royal priestly ministry to the nations.

Will He find them here? Will He find them in your church? People who will be His movable possession, at His constant disposal—wherever you are seven days a week, whether it seems convenient or inconvenient, whether it seems within your giftedness or not—that you say, “I’m the movable possession; You put me here; I’m Yours.”Will you function in this mediatorial role as a witness to the nations? Will you live by the standards of God that require us to be holy as our God is holy? God is looking for a people in whom He can manifest His character, that He can trust with His mission, and that He can call to Himself as a possession.

APPLICATION:
Covenant relationship and obedience go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Living the Christian life means relying on that covenant relationship with Jesus Christ in obedience to his Grace and living in light of God’s purposes for the Nations.

INVITATION:
Salvation
Commitment to His Kingdom priorities in your life