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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

“The Freedom of the Law”

Exodus 19:1-15

Israel is being prepared for a critical encounter.  The people have journeyed through the wilderness to Mount Sinai.  It is there that they will meet God in a unique way.  From Mount Sinai God will give them his Law the basis for their covenant or relationship with him.

God reminds the people that he brought them out of Egypt “on eagles’ wings.”  God is not a territorial deity limited to a particular place (as was the case with the false gods).  God affirms the fact that “the whole earth is mine.”  In other words God is not limited.  His grace and mercy, his “steadfast love” given to Israel will benefit the whole world as he promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3).

Moses poses a crucial question to the people.  They are to obey the voice of God.  God has initiated his covenant with them.  They are now to respond to what God has done.  The people then say, “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.”  Really?

It’s no big spoiler alert to point out that Israel will not live up to that basic demand. They are about to receive God’s Ten Commandments which they will break frequently.  God eventually will lament the fact that Israel has disobeyed him since the day they came out of Egypt (II Kings 21:15).

So is this all an exercise in futility?  Is Israel just going through the motions of pledging faithfulness to God?  Yet more is going on here that simply Israel’s initial pledge to obey the Lord.  God is preparing the people to come into his presence.  The people are to be consecrated to the Lord.

However there is a crucial word here that points well beyond the revelation at Mount Sinai.  The ritual Israel is to keep focuses on “the third day” which is mentioned several times.  They are told to prepare for the third day.

The law will not save Israel.  Nor will it save us.  We are too broken, too self- centered.  We can’t keep the Law.  There is however much we will need to learn through even our failure to keep the Law.  Yet God’s final answer to Israel and indeed the whole world will take place “on the third day,” the day of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  Jesus fulfills the Law for us.

From the beginning this is our hope.  We can never take that fact lightly.  We need to understand all of God’s commandments in the light of “the third day.”

I praise you Lord for your fulfilling of all your promises through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  May we depend on your Law to lead us to Christ.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.