Exodus 19-21

Chapter 19: Three months have passed since they left Egypt.  The Lord does not change His covenant but he does add an asterisk to it!

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

He adds an “if” “then” onto it.  If they obey him fully:

  1. Then I will make this nation my treasured possession.
  2. Then you will be a kingdom of priests (this is the first time they are being referred to as a kingdom.  A kingdom of the ones that stand between God and all people.
  3. A holy nation.  Holy means: set apart, different from all other nations

In short, the people experienced these blessings only partially, because their obedience was partial. Israel’s disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant DID NOT invalidate (is that a word) any of God’s promises to Abraham.  Those promises did not rest on Israel’s obedience, as these did.

In just 3 months they are going from an Egyptian slave to a member of God’s Kingdom.  They are about to be in the presence of the Lord.  Time to physically and mentally prepare.  They are to consecrate themselves so they are “different” than the people around them.  (I know when you read 19:15 Abstain from sexual relations the men said “why??” and the woman said “yes, I don’t have to shave for a while!”.  This was said because surrounding nations incorporated sexual practices with religious observances.  Some of them are pretty gross….I can’t wait to get to Leviticus)

Chapter 20.  The 10 commandments.  (Do you know I have never seen the movie).

In the Gospel, Jesus is asked which one of these is the most important.   He says in Mark 12

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Was Jesus picking 2 out of 10 to be more important?  NO.  He summed up the first 4 and then the last 6.  You can remember it this way: the first 4 are about our relationship with God.  The following 6 are about out relationship with others.

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Did you ever notice by the way that the first 2 commandments are written in 1st person and the rest are 3rd person?  Keep in mind they have been living in Egypt-polytheistic and they are going to travel in about a year to Canaan, a very pagan nation. Keeping this commandments will set them apart.   Are you?

  1. “You shall have no other gods before me.  This commandment was a call only one God. Three months ago God proved that there are no other gods. 
  2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.  People are easily tempted to attribute power to idols that were fashioned by their own hands.  I grew up in a home where a theology of  “saints” and “statues” were prayed to.  Our faith is in God, and God alone. 
  3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.  This is not about saying OMG.  This is about hypocrisy. Blasphemy. So much more.  An example I hear all the time is “God wants you to be happy”.  What?  I haven’t read that anywhere.  God wants you to be Holy!
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  Are you busier than God?  Do you take time to rest in him.  To worship Him.  We need to stop and remember that we deserve death.  You deserve the full wrath of God.  Does God erase our wrath?  NO.  He poured it out in full measure all onto the the only one that did not deserve it.  Jesus literally took that wrath for you.  Take the time to keep the Sabbath.

  5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Oh, a “so that” is added to this one.  The Hebrew word for honor is “give weight to”.  As God has instructed parents to teach their children about ways to commemorate, worship, remember the Lord and ONLY the Lord sets them free,  his commandments, children are told to listen, to give weight to the advice.  (So if you read this and thought I am going to tell my children this, please remember your teaching them God’s precepts is the first part).  Ouch!
  6. “You shall not murder.  Do you concern yourself with the killing in the world or do you ignore it because it is not at your hands?  Are you a by-standard watching the news or are you proactive in someway to support the sanctity of life.  (Man, I feel punched in the stomach today)
  7.  “You shall not commit adultery. Marriage is a covenant.  A symbol of God’s covenant with us. I am not going to break this down, you got it.
  8.  “You shall not steal.
  9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Lying, defamation, and distortion of the truth.  Listen, no on is more hyperbolic when telling a story than me,  but we need to watch the line of Gossip.  God commanded it.
  10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Here is your homework- write about this in comments today.

What follows immediately after this? If you have been around children or teens after stating the rules you put your finger,  squint your eyes, and almost whisper (so they actually listen) and restate the one rule that will just crush you if they don’t listen.

  “Do not make any gods to be along side me”

You know I don’t talk application, I am not your Holy Spirit (just my husband’s).  Please stop and ask yourself what are the things in your life that you put before the Lord in your walk, your time, your money, and your thoughts.

Question: Is Moses up there WITH his brother Aaron?

Chapter 21- This is called the Book Of the Covenant.

This book now is the APPLICATION of the 10 commandments.  WOW.  God leaves no room for “ohhhh, that’s what you meant when you said that!”  I tried, it doesn’t work. Let’s glace at one for some clarity so that when faced with an unbeliever (and if you are the hands and feet of Jesus you will be in a world being a light to the lost).

  • Hebrew Servants- go back to Genesis and the famine.  When someone needed help to survive, people could be an indentured servant, meaning you help them get out of their debt by having them work for you and then you set them free.  That was the plan…so when people talk about God/Bible/Slavery…Do not argue with them.  Simply say (just like someone said to me 1,000 times as I walked out of church in 2005 steaming mad over some of the messages)…if anyone knows Rachel Lovingood  you can picture her putting her finger to her lip and saying, “well Trish, that’s interesting, let’s just take a look and see what the scriptures have to say about that”.  Open your Bible, find the scriptures and then get out of the way and watch the Lord work!
  • Can we sit here all day and pick there apart?? An Eye for an Eye, a tooth for a tooth.  Now you know where in the Bible we get that!

So if these 10 Commandments are in the Torah, are we free to ignore them in our everyday lives and just “try” to live by them.  Here is the deal, God gave us these so we may live ABUNDANTLY with Him and others.  So it is up to you.

Extra reading:  Here are a list of 10 scriptures from the words of Jesus.  You should look them up.  Click on them….they will sound familiar after re-reading the 10 commandments.

Click on the stuff in blue:

Matthew 4:10,  Luke 16:13,  Matthew 5:34,  Mark 2:27,28, Matthew 10:37 , Mathhew 5:22,  Matthew 5:28,  Matthew 5:40,  Matthew 12:36,  Luke 12:15,