Reader: “You will be my kingdom of priests,”
Response: “my holy nation.”
Scripture: Exodus 9:1-9
Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai.
Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him. And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the Lord.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, Moses, so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you. Then they will always trust you.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
When God met Moses at the burning bush, he told him the day would come when he, Moses, would lead the Children of Israel to this mountain to worship. (Ex.3:12) This promise was fulfilled. At this point in our reading, the people had not yet received the Law, the Ten Commandments, nor entered into their covenant with God. In calling Moses to climb Sinai for their meeting, God affirmed the people’s history by referring to them as the family of Jacob and as the descendents of Israel, (Remember, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel when they wrestled Gen. 32:28). God was reminding Moses that you all are my people. I began with a man, Abraham, developed a family, Jacob (Israel), and have built that family into the nation of Israel which you are to lead. God laid out his plan for Israel to Moses. God has chosen these people to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation to bring blessing to the entire earth. Moses followed through and shared with the elders regarding the covenant with God and told them everything God had said. The people’s response was, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded,” and Moses fainted! After he was revived, Moses returned to the Lord with the people’s answer . . .and God fainted! (It didn’t happen quite that way!) God did come though, to Moses in a thick cloud. This is another of the many times in Scripture where God appears in a cloud indicating his presence. There is always purpose in everything God does both then and now. In this case, God wanted the people to hear him speaking out of the cloud with Moses in order to help the people always trust Moses. God was affirming Moses’ leadership from the start of the building of the nation of Israel. There would be numerous times upcoming that the people would rebel against Moses’ authority. Have you noticed how often the word “obedience” enters into the text of the Scriptures when interaction with God is involved? Since the Fall, obedience and submission to the Lord have been a human problem, and a problem for you and for me. Time in the Scriptures is where we hear the voice of God, ironically to get us out of the fog of self.
Music: “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” Jake Armerding
Lord Jesus, how many times have I said to you, “I will do everything you have said” only to fail with the words barely off my lips. My will is fickle, my intentions too often mixed, my heart too changeable. I confess I find it too easy to rationalize in doing what I want. Sometimes, like the Israelites, I get it right and follow you. But grant Lord, that my time with you each day, as you speak from the Scriptures, would increasingly shine through the cloud and burn off the fog of self that is all too familiar in order that I might see your glory and learn to fear you in awe and wonder and obedience. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp