How good are you at keeping promises? Have you ever broken a promise? Have you said you would do something and forgotten or failed to follow through? How would you rate your integrity or faithfulness factor on a scale of 0-10?
Exodus is a book all about Faithfulness. It is about the faithfulness of God and the unfaithfulness of His people. Chapters 1-14 show God’s faithfulness to His people.
“Lord, who is like You among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, and the earth swallowed them. With Your faithful love, You will lead the people You have redeemed; You will guide them to Your holy dwelling with Your strength.” ~Exodus 15:11-13
This week’s reading covers more of God’s faithfulness, but begins to highlight the Israelites’ unfaithfulness. The reading begins in chapter 15 with Moses & the Israelites singing praise to God for delivering them from the Egyptian army by parting the Red Sea. Then the scene moves to several displays of the grumbling Israelites and how God faithfully provides just what they need. Chapter 17 features Joshua for the first time in a battle against the Amalekites & reveals Moses’ dedication to lead his people in battle (indirectly on the mountain). Chapter 18 brings a visit from Moses’ father-in-law who understands the power of the God of Israel for the first time as well as offering some healthy advice to Moses about delegating some of his work (settling disputes among all the people). Chapter 19 & 20 are the “mid-point” or “pinnacle” chapters of the book of Exodus and include some critical messages on the mountain. We learn about God’s chosen people, see His power revealed to Moses and the people through thunder and fire and the presentation of the Law (The 10 Commandments). Finally, our week ends with chapters 21-22, presenting more detailed laws for life among the Israelites.
“Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is Mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and My holy nation.” ~Exodus 19:5-6
These were the words the Lord spoke to Moses on the mountain and told Moses to share them with the Israelites. What great news! Soon after hearing this message, the people exclaim:
“We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” ~Exodus 19:8
Can’t you just see it? The Israelites have just heard news from the Lord once again. He has delivered them from their enemies out of Egypt and in battle against the Amalekites, and now offers them the assurance of their status as God’s chosen people. They had a front row seat to God’s power displayed on the mountain. But, there is a catch. There is an “if-then” type phrase at the beginning of verse 5. The Israelites must listen carefully and keep God’s covenant. The requirement – perfect faithfulness to God’s law. Well, if you know anything about the Israelites of the Old Testament they were fatally flawed and fickle in their commitment to God’s law. They tended to forget God’s promises and failed to follow through on keeping God’s law. We will see in the upcoming chapters more of their unfaithfulness.
If the people of God who experienced God’s deliverance, received His daily provision through meat, manna, and water from a rock, and witnessed His power at the mountain could not keep their promise to follow God’s law, what hope is there for us?
“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the reality itself of those things, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, purified once and for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” ~Hebrews 10:1-4
Our incapacity to keep the law presents a real problem. God is perfect and His law is perfect, and we are not. So God, demonstrates His great love for us in this…..
“But this man (Jesus), after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God….For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.” ~Hebrews 10:12, 14
Our hope is not in our ability. Our hope does not rest in our performance. Our hope is not in our perfection. Our standing with God does not depend on our being the best person we can be, the nicest neighbor, the most successful employee, the most patient parent or best promise-keeper of those 10 commandments. If you are anything like me, I fail daily – actually many times daily. Our job is to accept our imperfection, admit our unfaithfulness, and accept His amazing grace offered to us through Jesus. Our hope is in the faithfulness of God who redeemed us through His perfect Son, Jesus. He is the only One able to perfectly to keep and fulfill the Law.
“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since He who promised is faithful.” ~Hebrews 10:23
Look for some other great truths in these chapters in your reading/wanderings through Exodus this week:
- The Lord is Jehovah-Jireh (the Great Provider) – Exodus 16; 17
- The Lord is My Banner – Exodus 17:15
- Being an encouragement to our leaders & others – Exodus 17:11-12
- The heeding of wise advice & the importance of delegation – Exodus 18