January 26, 2010

Exo 19-21: Freedom to Serve

Posted in Foundations, Israel, Moses, Redemption, The Law tagged , , , , , , at 9:38 pm by Steve

19:6 “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

>> Believe it or not this verse is considered by many to be the central theme of the Exodus. We often think of the Exodus narrative as God’s freeing the slaves to live out their joyful happy lives to do whatever they want in the Promised Land. God defeats Pharaoh’s earthly rule and commands these Hebrews to follow Him to the land He promised Abraham. But God has a greater purpose for the Hebrews, just as He does for us. They are to be a people of priests before the Lord.

What does this mean to be a priesthood and holy nation? They are to be an example of a people wholly dedicated to serving God, loving one another, and living in justice, mercy, and love [see Micah 6:8].

What doe this mean for us as Christians? God did not save us through the blood of Jesus so that we could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. We are also called to be a Royal Priesthood [1 peter 2:5], Ambassadors [2 Corinthians 5:20], and the Body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:27]. We are to live as Christ’s representatives that the world may know how good, loving, gracious, slow to anger, and merciful God really is.

So here’s the big question – how do you think you’re doing?

[19:16] “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.”

>> Does this sound familiar to anyone? On the morning of the third day God comes to the mountain to give the Law. On the morning of the third day Jesus comes to give new life.

[21:1]  These are the laws you are to set before them:If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years.’”

What should we make of this long list of laws from Exodus 21. What I noticed right away is their focus. Notice that the very first law laid down by God is for the proper care of slave. A SLAVE! The first thing God wants the Hebrews to be concerned about is how they care for one another and the slaves above all. In our culture the wealth are the ones we are most concerned about, but not God. God’s focus is on the poorest.

When we as a church try to decide who the church is suppose to serve, is it

(a)  The poorest in our community

(b)  The richest in our community

(c)   The silent majority who do most of the work?

Look over the rest of the laws in Chpt 21. Where is God drawing out attention? What kind of people and issues are being addressed and why?

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1 Comment »

  1. Prince's mom said,

    “What does this mean for us as Christians? God did not save us through the blood of Jesus so that we could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. We are also called to be a Royal Priesthood [1 peter 2:5], Ambassadors [2 Corinthians 5:20], and the Body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:27]. We are to live as Christ’s representatives that the world may know how good, loving, gracious, slow to anger, and merciful God really is.”

    We are to be a royal priesthood, ambassadors, and the body of Christ.

    We are to live in gratitude, lead with grace, learn in relationships, link in community, and love by serving. It is as simple as that; it is as complex as that.

    How are we doing — as a royal priesthood, ambassadors, and the body of Christ? I could answer from my perspective; but as with Pat Robertson, I don’t have the knowledge not the right to speak for God.

    How am I doing –as a royal priest, an ambassador, and as a member of the body of Christ? I could answer from my perspective — I am merely a “broken piece of pottery” in the Potter’s hands and some times more broken than others. But, as with Pat Robertson, I don’t have the right to speak for God; I only have the choice to listen to my “still, small voice” when the Spirit talks to me and convicts or supports the choices I have made and/or wish to make.

    How tough it must be for pastors who know what we should be doing according to God and His Word and who try, with all their hearts and souls, to tell us how we should be living according to God and His Word before it is too late either for us individually or for this planet and to watch so many of their efforts and so many of their words fall on deaf ears and blinded eyes in those who “have ears and do not hear and have eyes and do not see.”

    But I am blessed to know a pastor who, despite discouragement from his wayward sheep, continues to be faithful and continues to speak “with the boldness of Peter” in his continual, life-filling, and fervent attempts to save “one more soul” for God every chance he gets.

    I am blessed to know a pastor who, out of love for and devotion to his God and his sheep, tells us, in words that we can remember, how we are to live for God and love each other.

    How am I doing –as a royal priest, an ambassador, and as a member of the body of Christ? I am trying to be the best I can be by doing as my pastor suggests: live in gratitude, lead with grace, learn in relationships, link in community, and love by serving.

    Those are now, by choice, an integral part of my core; they are my church’s core values — the 5 L’s that are now coupled with slogan that has become another part of my mantra, compliments again of my pastor, “Living in Christ ~ Loving Each Other.”

    God is doing His part in enabling my pastor to be faithful; my pastor is doing his part in showing us God’s way according to God’s word; I am, to the best of my ability, doing my part to be faithful to God as shown to me through my pastor’s gudiance; and I will continue trying, once again to the best of this “broken piece of pottery’s” ability, to live, to share, and to pass on, the 5 L’s by “Living in Christ ~ Loving Each Other,” not for my sake but so that “as one of Christ’s representatives, the world may know how good, loving, gracious, slow to anger, and merciful God really is.”


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