July 22, 2018
Pastor John Hering
3 When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” 4 Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.
He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord.6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
The basis of a relationship establishes the behavior. So, Justin and Jamie move into their new house and the cable guy comes over and installs their cable! They are so excited that they hug the cable guy! We might chuckle. That’s weird! In a professional relationship you just don’t do that! Or the other night we were at someone’s house and a person said, “If it gets too late, just kick us out!” The owner of the house said, “I won’t do that, I’ll just go get on my PJs.” No – you probably don’t walk around in your PJs with guests as your house. We might chuckle, cuz that’s weird! Your behavior around a person is determined on the basis of your relationship with them (business, personal, romantic, etc). So, now think about this: what is your relationship with God based on? Business, personal, romantic, or something else? And once you have determined what the relationship is based on, should you behave differently around God than you are doing right now?
The Word of God before us today from Exodus 24 has something to say about our perception of the Israelites’ behavior around God. You probably weren’t surprised to hear,
“When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.”
You know why they responded this way. Let’s see, religiously they had watched the Lord overpower the Egyptian gods with 10 plagues in Egypt. Professionally they watched the Lord wipe out the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. They knew and believed God was in control. So, they were committed to do anything the Lord God said, particularly as found in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) or other laws God have them on Mt Sinai. So, even before they hear all the laws (Ex 20-23) they repeat what they said in Exodus 19.
We Will Do Everything The Lord Has Said
What a relationship
Moses was so excited to hear this news he couldn’t sleep,
“He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel.”
You recognize the 12 stones to represent the 12 Tribes of Israel. In other words, no one is left out of this relationship! As you’ve learned, the altar was to symbolize the presence of the Lord at worship. It was here on the altar where they would give their sacrifices as the Israelites,
“Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord.”
Does this response surprise you? Oh, that’s right, like you, they were not teenagers pouting at their parents because of some rules that are established to give guidance and direction for their lives. They were not going to have a pity party and mope around under God’s “To-Do List.” This would have created an unhealthy barrier in their relationship with God. Honeymooners get this! At first you can leave your dirty socks and underwear somewhere in the vicinity of the clothes hamper, but as the day, months and years go on you better learn to be a better aim with your dirty clothes or you’ll hear the new “clothes in the hamper law” that may create a barrier in the relationship. No, the first response of God’s people is backing up their words of commitment with actions of commitment—burning bulls on God’s altar to show their total dedication to the Lord’s will. They were saying, “Lord we give you everything!” and put the whole bull on the altar. Then with faith-filled confidence they celebrated their relationship with God by sacrificing fellowship offerings. These were more like butchered animals so that cuts of meat were set apart for a festive meal later. They were saying, “We Will Do Everything the Lord Has Said” and their actions backed up their words with worship and fellowship.
(Pause). Really? Hold on a minute. You’ve read Scriptures. What happened to all the whining and complaining? Are these the same people who were never satisfied with their circumstances? Are these the same people who told God he didn’t know what he was doing and that they would have rather stayed back in Egypt as slaves sitting around pots of meat rather than fugitives in the desert? So, what changed? How can it be that their relationship with God was so drastically different? We see the answer in something Moses does with the sacrificial animals.
“6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
Blood was the answer to their relationship.
You see, in those days when the people from nations made promises with each other they would draw blood from both sides and mix it to share their relationship with each other. The Israelites are so committed here because they understood this picture. Their blood was not being mixed with God’s blood. No, the animal blood was symbolic of God’s blood as the only power to give a life and death commitment to the relationship. Simply put, God was the only one who bleeds here. It made the unbreakable covenant sure.
The application here is awesome! The times when we are not getting along very well with God means we are depending on some other basis for our relationship with God than his loving, sacrificial commitment and connection in Jesus Christ. Then the whining begins. The questioning of God’s direction. The complaining that we don’t have it as good as others. The doubt that our relationship with God is based on something besides his grace and mercy for us in Christ. But, today this Word of God reminds us that our relationship with God is not based on what we do or don’t do. No, our relationship is based on blood. The blood of Jesus Christ shed for you and for me. On the basis of our relationship with Jesus Christ we proclaim,
“We will do everything the Lord has Said!”
As God’s people, then we stand forgiven and ready to have a very rewarding life.
What a reward!
The cable guy installed the wires and you have shows on your TV. I’m thinking that you’ll not let anything get in the way of you watching your favorite show that evening. Yes? The reward is the show and now you get to enjoy it! So, what is getting in the way of you enjoying the rewards of God’s grace? Perhaps the reason a person fails to wholeheartedly commit to a life of faith and life to God is because either they don’t know, or they/we fail to remember how much God is committed to us first. Look around and see how richly God has blessed you. Then use these blessings to build altars of worship because the Lord is so committed to you! Here is how it’s described in Exodus:
“6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Can you see the blood, symbolizing the Lord’s blessings dripping off the altar and the people? Listen—throughout the Bible blood was the symbol of death. Now, the blood was blessed by the Lord to mean life! That’s because you know Jesus! You hear the words, “blood of the covenant” and hardly think about animals sacrificed, right? No! You think about Jesus who died on the cross to pay for your sins. You think about God declaring you forgiven. You think about God’s commitment to you. Then with these rewards of God’s grace you respond with St. Paul,
“14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again”
2 Corrinthians 5:14,15
“Congratulations! You have a reward of blood from God!” I know, that sounds rough to the ear without the knowledge of Jesus. But, truth be told, God is so comfortable with his relationship with you through the blood of Jesus it is called the
“bond of peace”
in the Bible. It’s God the cable guy getting a hug and not minding. It’s God walking around in his pajamas so you can see him as he really is through Scripture! You see his glory in his plan of salvation and love it. This is what the leadership of Israel experienced.
“9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli (Sapphire), as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
You’ve been to weddings or meals where you can tell the host if having fun. Well? Doesn’t it seem as though the Lord was having fun—enjoying his relationship with his people! So is it too much to ask that you enjoy your relationship with him as much as he enjoys his relationship with you? Is it too much to ask that you would be totally committed to him as much as he enjoys being totally committed to you? If not, I’m asking you to simply recall the basis for your behavior—the blood of Jesus Christ that saves you from eternal death and brings you eternal life! These are God’s gracious rewards for you.
The basis of a relationship establishes behavior. You probably won’t be hugging your cable guy, your CPA or your doctor, unless for some really unusual circumstances. But, what about God? The basis for our relationship with God is based on Jesus Christ and his relationship with us. He called us to be his own, to live under him in his kingdom. Let’s serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness gladly Doing Everything He Has Commanded For Jesus’ Sake. Amen!