WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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GOD’S COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
(Meeting GOD on HIS terms, not ours)
In Exodus 19, exactly two months after the Israelites left slavery in Egypt, they arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai where GOD had previously instructed Moses to bring them (Exodus 3:12). It is there that GOD would make HIS offer of a “Covenant” known to Moses and all of the people of Israel. This Covenant was filled with many benefits that were based on the “conditional promises” of GOD. They were benefits, or, “blessings”, that could only be realized if they lived in total obedience and loyalty to GOD, and, if they exhibited “fair” and “just” treatment (show love) to their fellowman.
The Israelites quickly agreed to hear the LORD’s Covenant offer, and preparations were made (v.14), as instructed by the LORD to Moses, for a very special appearance by GOD HIMSELF, to the entire nation of Israel, from the apex of Mount Sinai.
And so the stage was now set for an electrifying manifestation of GOD’s OWN glorious presence, which would occur in only three days time. At that time, GOD would write down a list of religious and moral laws with HIS OWN finger, that would, over time, shape the spirits of mankind, into a, more closer representation of HIS OWN unreachable superior character. These life-changing instructions, that would be received by Moses that day on Mount Sinai, have now become known, the world over, as “The Ten Commandments” of GOD.
On the morning of the third day, there came a powerful storm with much thunder and lightning. A very dense cloud then covered the top of Mount Sinai. This spectacular scene was accompanied by a loud and frightening trumpet-like blast from a ram’s horn that could be heard for miles around, and all the people trembled at the coming of the LORD.
Moses then led all of the people from their camp to the foot of Mount Sinai, and as the LORD had so sternly advised him, he had previously set up barriers, and warned the Israelites not to breach them. For if any of them were to cross the demarcation lines that were set, they would surely die by stoning or, by arrow. Moses also instructed the people that no one who crossed those barriers, could ever be touched again, physically, by another person, unless they too, lose their own life (Vs.12-13).
Then GOD the FATHER summoned Moses to come, and Moses climbed to the top of Mount Sinai, where HE, for the first time, personally appeared to him in “the form of fire” (v.18). Remember, Moses’ first encounter, the fire of the “Burning Bush” (Exodus 3) was actually a theophany of CHRIST JESUS, WHO is “The ANGEL of the LORD”.
However, no sooner than Moses had reached the top of the mountain, GOD instructed him to go back down and warn the people again “not to cross the barriers that he had set”. Apparently Moses had not included the priests, who regularly come before GOD, with the same restriction instructions as all the others, “not to cross the set boundaries”. Also, GOD wanted Moses to go back and bring “only Aaron”, the chief priest, back to the top of the mountain, with him.
Here in Exodus 19, the LORD is preparing the people to receive the “Mosaic Covenant”, and as all biblical covenants do, it makes a statement concerning what GOD intends to do, or is committed to do, for HIS people. However, this Mosaic Covenant, differs in that it tells what GOD will do for each generation going forward, as history unfolds. And while the “Abrahamic Covenant” and the “Davidic Covenant” are “permanent” ones, this Mosaic Covenant is seen by most Christian scholars as a “temporary” covenant that was in force only until the “first advent” of JESUS the CHRIST, the promised REDEEMER of mankind (Galatians 3:15-25).
Here in the “Church Age”, GOD’s Old Testament Law serves more to reveal HIS “Holy Nature” and “moral standards” to a world that has become, more and more, adverse to HIS plan and pattern for HIS greatest creation, mankind. We are made in GOD’s “spiritual image” and we are the only part of HIS creation that shares HIS “Holy Nature”.
However, to GOD’s dismay, we continue to sorely disappoint HIM with our disobedient behavior, and so, as an added measure, GOD enables us to be embodied by HIS HOLY SPIRIT to “help” us to abide in “love”, and more perfectly display HIS Holy Character to “an unbelieving world”.
JESUS CHRIST came to show us how to live as “human beings” perfectly under GOD. However, sadly, most of us have already allowed satan to convince us that it is impossible to obey GOD. As a result, we continue to refuse to meet GOD on HIS terms, and we desire instead, to seek a god that is made in “our own image”, as opposed to conforming to the GOD WHO made us in HIS.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website