Introduction

This week’s lesson is going to take us into a new unit of lessons within this quarter.  For the last month we have taken a look at God as a provider for the children of Israel.  This month takes a look at the Lord instructing the children of Israel.  These instructions will come in the form of the Mosaic Law which includes the Ten Commandments.  This week’s lesson is being taught from Exodus 19:1-9.

Answer to a Question

Our lesson opens with giving us an update on the progress of the children of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land (Ex. 19:1-2).  We are specifically told in this scripture that it is the first day of the third month since they left Egypt.  Then we are told the specific location of where they are:  the wilderness of Sinai.

If we remember our lesson from a few Sundays ago, we will remember that God told Moses to go to Horeb where water would be provided for the children of Israel (Ex. 17:5-6).  The wilderness of Sinai is in Horeb which is where Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb or mountain of God) is located.  As I mentioned in an earlier lesson, Elijah came to this location and spoke with God when Jezebel threatened his life (1 Kings 19:8).

Message from God

The next few verses in our lesson shows us God speaking with Moses – He has a message for the children of Israel (Ex. 19:3-6).  I referenced this scripture in my most recent sermon – The Justified Sinner – when I was explaining the children of Israel being God’s chosen people.  So, Moses goes and stands before the Lord and we are told that the Lord called out to Moses out of the mountain (v.3).

Let’s pay attention to what God has to say to Moses.  Firstly (v.3), this message is supposed to be relayed specifically to the children of Israel (the house of Jacob).  The first thing we see the Lord say to the children of Israel is a reminder of what He did in Egypt (v.4).  Specifically, He wanted the Israelites to remember what He did to the Egyptians (the plagues/His power).  He also wants them to remember their deliverance from bondage which some probably thought was impossible.  

God wants the Israelites to remember who their God is and what their God is capable of doing.  Why do you suppose He wanted them to remember that?  I believe He wanted them to remember those days for future days when times would get difficult.  Life has both its good days and bad days, we should be faithful in both days!  This is something we as genuine believers should also practice:  remember all that God has done for you for when those bad days roll around.

A special treasure

God then gives an update on that test we saw His speak about weeks ago when we studied about the Israelites complaining about food.  God told Moses that He would test the children of Israel to see if they would walk in His law or not (Ex. 16:4).  How do you believe the children of Israel did with that test?

Since that time, we have seen the children of Israel complain about not having water.  However, we have also witnessed them fight off and have victory over the Amalekites through their faith in the Lord.  We have also seen them trust in Moses giving them the word and judgement from God in both spiritual and civil matters.  In our lesson this week, we have seen them actually make it to Horeb!  

So, initially it seemed rather shaky, but here the Israelites are in faith.  I imagine all of us faithful believers are pretty much the same way.  None of us are perfect, we have our moments of faltering, yet we still trust in and depend on God.  So, in the next verse of our lesson, we see that God found that they were capable of keeping His law (v.5).  The Lord is willing to give them the Law and tells them that if they were to keep His law, they would be a special treasure to Him above all people.

A kingdom of priests

God specifically tells us what it meant for them to be a special treasure to Him above all people in the next verse.  God says they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (v.6).  What is fascinating about this is the role of a priest.  You have probably heard me say this a time or two about how the Israelites were supposed to minister the Law to other nations.  Well, that is the role of priest – they act as servants of the people.

The priest served in the tabernacle and then the temple.  They would offer up the sacrifices of the people and minister to them.  So, the Law was given to the children of Israel so that they could become holy and then be representatives of the holy way of God for all the other nations of people.  We look at the church today and that is the role in which we are supposed to serve as stewards of the Lord.  This is also something I have been preaching about in recent weeks.

Promise Made

Our lesson closes with Moses delivering the message from God to the people and the people agreeing to live by the way of God (Ex. 19:7-9).  Specifically, Moses spoke with the elders who likely relayed the delivered message to the people (v.7).  We are told that all the people answered that they would live by the law (v.8) – so the decision was unanimous.

So, the people had a desire to follow after the way of God in the law, but none of them realized just how hard that would be.  Ultimately, the children of Israel failed in keeping the law; God’s law was just too difficult to keep.  James, the half brother of Jesus, actually mentioned just how difficult it was to keep the law.  He wrote (Jas. 2:10), “for whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

As Paul once said, the desire was great but the flesh was weak (Rom. 7:15; Gal. 5:17.)  It did not take long for the children of Israel to error in keeping the law as they sinned a great sin at Mount Sinai (Ex. 32:31).  We do not live today by the law today because the Lord sent His only begotten Son to us.  Through our faith in Him, we are forgiven our sins that the law accuses us of committing.