Friday 03 June 2022

Bible Book:

'Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples.' (5a)

Exodus 19:1-9a Friday 3 June 2022


After the events of the Passover and miraculous escape from the slavery of Egypt, Moses arrived with the people of Israel at the mountain where he had first encountered God, and learned that God’s name is YHWH (meaning "I am" or "the Lord”). (Mount Horeb in Exodus 3 is widely believed to be part of the same mountain as Sinai.)

In these stories from Exodus and the wilderness wanderings, Moses acts as a mediator between the voice of God and the people of God. The Lord’s presence is filled with mystery and awe, and appears to them as a pillar of cloud during the day or a pillar of fire at night. 

Reminding them of the rescue they have just experienced, in today's passage God invites the people (through Moses) to “obey my voice and keep my covenant” (v. 5) and then they shall be God’s "treasured possession" – a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. They are to be a people set apart to worship God, to be holy, and reflect God’s values and character.

The people respond to this offer with enthusiasm: “Everything that the Lord has spoke we will do.” (v. 8) This acceptance is the precursor for the Ten Commandments which follow in chapter 20, after a time of preparation and cleansing in the latter part of chapter 19.

 Trust is an important factor if this relationship is going to work. The people need to trust the words Moses brings them. God first made a covenant with Noah (Genesis 6-9) and then makes a covenant with Abraham and Sarah and their descendants that is more intimate: it is about a human family becoming God’s people set apart (Genesis 15-17). This passage in Exodus is part of that same story of the covenant between God and the people of God, which runs throughout the whole of the Bible. The covenant itself was made with blood in chapter 24, and renewed in Deuteronomy 29. A new covenant was promised in Jeremiah 31, and seen in its fullness in the blood of Jesus, who died on the cross. The story is of an ever-faithful God, who loves humanity and wants to be in a real and committed relationship with us. The challenge is to be that priestly kingdom, that holy nation. The gift of God is grace and the power of the Spirit, as we learn what it means to be God’s "treasured possession". 

To Ponder:

  • Do you consider yourself to be in a covenant relationship with God? What does this mean to you?
  • How easy do we find it to keep up to our part of the covenant, and how important is God’s grace and forgiveness?
  • How can the Holy Spirit help us when we otherwise might fail to be ‘holy’ people?
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