Praise Tabernacle - A Missions Centered Church (Celebrating 40 years)
Sunday April 22nd
We live in a nation governed by laws. But some of those laws might leave you wondering who thought them up. Here are 12 of the strangest laws on the books:
In Alabama - residents are committing “unlawful bear exploitation” if they train a bear for the purpose of bear wrestling.In California - Any frog that dies during a frog-jumping contest can't be eaten.In Iowa - Anyone trying to pass off margarine as real butter is guilty of a misdemeanor. (I can’t believe it’s not butter! I can’t believe I’m going to jail for saying that!)In Minnesota, any game in which participants attempt to capture a greased pig is illegal.
In New Hampshire -It's illegal to collect seaweed at nightIn New Mexico - "idiots" can't vote in state elections.In North Carolina, bingo games can last only up to five hours.
In Oregon - Leaving a container of urine on the side of the road is a Class A misdemeanor.In South Carolina - A male over the age of 16 can't falsely promise to marry a woman.
In Utah, no one may hurl a missile at a bus — except "elected or appointed peace officers"
In West Virginia - Anyone who hunts with a ferret will face a fine of $100 and 10 days in jail.In Wyoming, you can't "detach" more than one-half of a sheep's ear.
As we look at Exodus chapter 22, which is collection of various additional laws for the people of Israel, we may find that some of these could strike us as odd also!
Verse 1 says:
“If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.”
That one makes a lot of sense, because paying back five times more than you stole should help to discourage thievery. But this next one might seem a bit trickier:
2 “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. 3 But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Here’s what’s being expressed by this law - The killing of a burglar at night did not incur guilt on the home owner, since confronting the burglar in the dark could endanger the homeowner’s life. But a daytime thief was easier to identify and stop, therefore killing him was not justified.
Now verse 4 I can’t quite understand, if it’s connected to verse 3:
4 If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.
Do you see why I’m confused? Who has to repay double, the dead thief? (I never realized that there were zombies in the Bible!)
There must be something in Hebrew grammar that I just can’t figure out. So let’s simplify this one to something simple: “Don’t steal stuff because someone might kill you!”
Verses 5 through 15 are all about property rights regarding fields, animals, fire, accidents, and lending stuff out:
5 “If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.
So if your goat eats my crops, you owe me your crops!
6 “If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.
I’m sure that Smokey the Bear liked that one!
7 “If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. 9 For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.
So if you lend me your hammer and I tell you “someone stole it from me” when you ask for it back, but you see it in my toolbox, then I owe you two hammers!
10 “If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, 11 an oath before the Lord shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. 12 But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence; he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces.
One time my roommate asked me to watch his cat, and it got hit by a car because I let it outside near a busy street.
It wasn’t “torn to pieces” but it was definitely flattened, and I had some “splaining” to do when my friend got back from his trip!
14 “If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution. 15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution; if it is hired, it came for its hire.
This one seems to say that if you and I are together, and I’m throwing a Frisbee with your dog, and he run into a tree and dies, that’s not my fault, because you were there and you didn’t tell me to stop.
I think we can see why these laws were important for the people of Israel, because in a farming culture, crops and animals were very crucial to their survival.
And if there weren’t laws regarding how to handle property disputes, then chaos could occur, possibly leading to violence.
Even in our court system today, there are 2 distinct types of courts – criminal courts, which are for law-breakers, and civil courts to settle property issues and other personal matters.
Then verse 16 deals with a very sensitive kind of interpersonal issue:
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.”
This verse was probably the origin of what came to be known as “shotgun weddings”. You got the girl pregnant, so now you need to “do the right thing” and marry her. That is, unless her Daddy says “get lost, you loser!” In that case, just make sure that you pay your child support!”
The next three verses list different reasons why people might deserve capital punishment:
18 “You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
19 “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.
20 “He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be utterly destroyed.
Those are three very different crimes, but each one was considered to be a justifiable cause for the death penalty!
The next section, from verses 21-24, has to do with how to treat widows and orphans, and those who are foreigners:
21 “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. 23 If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; 24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
God expected the people of Israel to be kind to strangers, since they had been strangers in Egypt. And that last verse surely shows us how serious God is about the treatment of widows and orphans!
If we look at James 1:27 we can see that this concern remained important to God all the way through the New Testament:
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
God’s concern for those who are weak and vulnerable has never changed.
God continues to show his concern for the treatment of the poor in verses 25-27:
25 “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.26 If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, 27 for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.
Do you see what those verses are saying? You can’t take away what little a poor person has and claim that its the interest on what they owe you.
Verse 28 equates God’s authority with those whom He has placed in positions of authority:
28 “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
This verse is actually quoted by Paul in Acts 23:1-5
“Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” 2 The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” 4 But the bystanders said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
You see, Paul didn’t realize that Ananias, who had ordered the guards to smack him, was the High Priest.
As terrible as his actions were, Paul knew that he must still respect the authority of his position.
And it was Paul who wrote in Romans 13:1 “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”
The next two verses are a reminder not to withhold tithes and offerings from God:
29 “You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.
In our PBI course on Theology and Life we talked about how God doesn’t “need” out tithes, but we “need” to tithe in order to be in a correct relationship with God.
And the final verse in this chapter is what I like to call “The Vegetarian Verse”!
31 “You shall be holy men to Me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh.”
Actually, it says more than that, which is why we always tell you to read every verse in its full context!
The complete verse says:
31 “You shall be holy men to Me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh torn to pieces in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.
Or a more modern translation might be – “Don’t eat roadkill – it might make you sick!”
When we look at this list of laws, we can understand that God was trying to guide His people towards holy, healthy, righteous living. These rules were for their good, not just to frustrate them.
As New Testament followers of Jesus, we also are being asked to not only know God’s ways, but to do them.
We see this in James 1:22-25
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
It’s not enough to hear God’s Word or to know God’s Word – we are called to DO what God’s Word says!
I want you to think about what verse 25 says about “the perfect law, the law of liberty”
Liberty means freedom. And laws tend to limit or restrict my freedom. So how can there be such a thing as “the law of liberty”?
I believe it means this:
God gave me a free will. I can use it to obey Him or to disobey Him.
If I use my will to disobey God, I may feel that I am walking in freedom, but I am actually walking in bondage to my own selfish desires.
The only way that I can walk in true freedom is to take my free will and turn it back over to God – to submit my will and my ways to the higher calling of His will and His ways!
When I am able to say “Not my will, but yours” then I become truly free – Free from selfishness and self-centeredness – free to serve – free to truly live!
That’s why James describes the law of liberty as “the Perfect Law”
I don’t know about you, but God’s law suits me perfectly!
It is one thing to leave slavery behind it is another to stop thinking like a slave. We have all been slaves to sin, but God made it possible to be free of sin through Jesus Christ, yet this work is a process, called the renewing the mind. Exodus 21 deals directly with the physical issue of how to treat a slave fairly. This leads to the question is God okay with slavery?
When something in scripture does not line up with the nature of God we must study it in depth for truth from the Word will never violate the nature of God.
President Monroe sent African slaves back to Liberia after the abolishment of slavery, but the problem was these slaves had not been educated well. Upon their arrival, they began to treat the African nationalists like they had been treated by their slave masters, which led to a conflict that has cost the lives of thousands and has not been repaired to this day.
Not everything in scripture reflects the way of heaven, because of the frailty of mankind God permits certain things though it isn’t His will. One example of this is divorce God permits it but He hates it. God understands the evil of mankind and driven by greed and lust issues such as slavery exist, even at this time.
In the time of Exodus slavery was common everywhere, throughout history, people have exploited others for the lust of money. God is in the process of transforming lives and systems. We see this throughout the Old Testament the way to treat slaves transitions from Exodus through Deuteronomy into Leviticus where eventually the command is that no Israelite is allowed to be a slave.
When a society built around slavery suddenly stops then economic destruction will follow. God began the shift out of slavery in the Wilderness but it was a process. While slavery still existed the way slaves were to be treated was completely different than how the Egyptian slave masters treated their slaves. We see that slaves were to be set free after seven years of service with their spouses, yet given the choice to serve them for life if that is what they wanted.
Paul addresses this with the story of Philemon in the New Testament. First, it must be understood that the whole structure of Rome was based on slavery. Slaves in these times were often treated better than free men, they were assured of food, clothing, and shelter, slaves could even be doctors, musicians, teachers, artists, etc.
Slavery was not addressed in the New Testament directly because it would have caused chaos. Paul does not order Philemon to free Onesimus or teach that slavery was evil. But by ordering Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother, the abuse of slavery was eliminated.
If we are going to move with God we must treat people as God would want them treated. God created all people in His image. To treat someone poorly because of their ethnicity is a direct affront to God and His most prized creation. How do you feel if someone mistreats your child? God feels the same and will not allow it to go unpunished.
We are called to establish the justice and righteousness of God throughout the Earth. Child soldiers, forced prostitution, and forced labor are forms of slavery and evil and it is our responsibility as stewards of the Earth to eradicate it.
It is one thing to draw near to God it is another to walk with Him. People often experience God's presence but living in His presence few reaches. The difficulty with abiding in Christ is not God, Himself, but people. Whether purposely or by accident, we trip up by the actions of others.
Ask someone why they stopped going to church, the fault being God will be less common. The blame game goes to church leadership or it's members. The difficulty we have as leaders is trying to get people to get along enough where a significant move of God can take place. God is sovereign but He has chosen to move through His body and if the parts are not together, His power has limits.
Here in Exodus 21:12-36, God instructs the children of Israel regarding how to respond to accidents or malicious acts. God wants His people to get to a place that nothing or nobody moves them but by God. Whether something someone does is by accident or not we need to keep our focus on the will of God. Not that we are not to seek out forgiveness, but we must maintain our surrendered attitude if we are going to continue to walk with God.
Sunday April 8th
Well, you know that there are all kinds of Top 10 lists these days, even different kinds of 10 Commandments lists. I recently came across this list of 10 Commandments for Car Collectors
1. Thou shalt not store thy cars out-of-doors.
2. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's battery charger.
3. Thou shalt not love thy cars more than thy wife and thy children; thou may love thy cars as much as thy family, but not more.
4. Thou shalt not read thy car magazines while at work, lest thy employer make it impossible for thee to continue making thy car payments.
5. Thou shalt not despise thy neighbor's Edsel.
6. Thou shalt not allow thy daughters nor thy sons to get married during the holy days of car shows.
7. Thou shalt not deceive thy wife into thinking that thou art taking her for a romantic Sunday drive when, indeed, thou art actually going to look at another car.
8. Thou shalt not tell thy spouse the entire cost of thy latest car restoration, at least not all of it at the same time.
9. Thou shalt not promise thy wife a new addition to the house and then use it thine money to build a bigger garage to store more cars.
10. Thou shalt not buy thy wife a floor jack or engine lift for Christmas!
So now in Exodus chapter 20 we are going to finally hear the issuing of the REAL 10 commandments to Moses:
Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
The first four commandments essentially describe how people are supposed to relate to God, and the other six commandments describe how God’s people are supposed to relate to each other.
Let’s look at some specific elements of these commandments.
In verse 3, when God says, “You shall have no other gods before Me”, that phrase literally means “before My face” or “in My presence.” God doesn’t want us in His presence if we’re inviting other gods to come along with us! He doesn’t want them “in His face”!
The prohibition in verse 4 against engraved or carved images means something that was made from wood or stone. One commentary points out that “Israel was to be distinguished from the nations by her imageless worship.”
Why were images forbidden in worship? Because God had already made mankind in His own image!
Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”
Do you want an image of God? Look at each other!
Of course, God did provide His own exact image in the flesh—Jesus Christ!
Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation”.
When we think about the third commandment – taking God’s name in vain – we need to remember that God’s name was a special gift to Israel. By using His name, Israel had access to God. God’s name is therefore to be revered.
This commandment forbids the use of God’s name not only in the form of cursing, but also for attesting to things that aren’t true by using expressions such as “I swear to God”!
Deuteronomy 28:58 says “to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the Lord your God”.
Jesus taught us to pray “hallowed be thy name.”
And Jesus honored His Father’s name while hanging on the Cross in John 12:28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
The commandment about the Sabbath sometimes causes confusion, because it was originally defined as lasting from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.
The Hebrew word (shabbat) derives from a verb meaning “to cease”—so the Sabbath was the day that all work had to cease. God’s decision to rest on the seventh day of creation was the basis for the commandment.
But we also need to understand that the original Sabbath rest was only intended to lead us to a greater rest, as explained in Hebrews 4:3-4
“For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“As I swore in My wrath,
They shall not enter My rest,”
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”
Just like the Old Testament animal sacrifices were intended to lead the people to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, so the Sabbath was meant to prepare the people for the ultimate rest of forgiveness through Jesus.
In Mark 2:27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
And in Colossians 2:16-17 we are told,
“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”
So as New Testament followers of Jesus, we don’t have to get hung up on the exact hours of the Sabbath, because we find our rest in Jesus.
That’s why Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
So those first 4 commandments show us how to relate to God, with reverence and respect.
The rest of the commandments are intended to help us relate to each other.
And that starts with commandment number 5 in verse 12:
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Here’s how a commentary describes this shift:
“With this fifth commandment, the Decalogue turns to human relations, beginning with the family. Honor toward parents anchors society, and binds children to parents in the community of faith. The promise and warning of this commandment are unique. Disrespect for parents was a serious matter, for it also dishonored the Lord.
The fact that this commandment contains a promise is emphasized in Ephesians 6:2
Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise)
What is the promise? You will have a long life in the land that God has given you.
Is it always easy to honor our parents? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on the kind of parents that you have. But God doesn’t specify here that we only need to honor parents who have earned our respect, and the promise is available to anyone who fulfills the commandment, no matter who their parents were.
The last five commandments also deal with how we treat others, and they all start with “You shall not’!
This includes murder, cheating, stealing, lying, and coveting.
When it comes to murder, the law distinguishes between manslaughter, which is accidental, and murder, which is premeditated. The word used here is also never applied to soldiers at war, or law enforcement officers in the line of duty.
Of course, Jesus ups the ante on both murder and the next commandment, which is adultery, in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5:
21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So although most people would say, “I’ve broken a few of the commandments, but not those two”! Jesus might say, “Not so fast, brother. There’s more here than meets the eye.”
When it comes to coveting stuff, it’s interesting to note that the Roman Catholic Church lists verse 17 as two separate commandments:
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” is listed as number 9 and
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” is listed as number 10.
How can they do that without ending up with eleven commandments? They simply ignore verses 4-6 about worshipping idols as a separate commandment. They kind of blend it in with number one and skip directly to number three. So their first two commandments are:
This reordering of the 2nd commandment changes the numbering all the way down the line, plus it creates a need to split verse 17 in order to still have ten.
This has also allowed to Catholic Church to encourage people to pray to various statues and paintings of Jesus, Mary, and the saints, which would be a clear violation of the real second commandment!
In order to demonstrate just how serious these commandments were, God put on quite a display of power on the mountain, and the people took notice:
18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
I’m sure that you’ve heard that what God is truly looking for is reverence, not the kind of fear that would cause us to avoid Him. But in the case of these Israelites, they were “scared” of God! They told Moses, “We’ll talk to you and you can talk to Him, but we aren’t talking to Him! He might kill us!
I think that’s one reason why Jesus taught us to relate to God as “Abba”, “daddy”, the loving Father.
These last few verses of this chapter might remind you of this famous movie clip:
(Show Mel Brook’s 15 Commandments clip)
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.23 You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. 24 You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. 26 And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it.’
Verse 23 is a recap of the first 2 commandments, and the next few verses are instructions regarding building an altar. These aren’t additional commandments.
The reason for the prohibition against using cut stones for building an altar were probably designed to keep the Israelites from using any altars that they might come across at Canaanite holy places when they entered the promised land, because those were typically built with cut stones.
And that last little line about not going up steps to get to the altar had to do with the fact that the Hebrew men, as well as the women, wore robes, not pants, which meant that people down below might be able to peek up their “skirts” if they were walking up a set of steps!
That’s why the instructions for the priests’ garments in Exodus 28:42 includes a reminder to put on underwear!“You shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs.”
God has it all covered, doesn’t he?
The fact is that God is really good at covering things – and we should be very glad that He is – because as Proverbs 10:12 reminds us:
“Love covers all transgressions.”
And in the wonderful promise of Romans 5:8
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God gave us the 10 Commandments knowing very well that we would break them!
In Galatians 3:24 the Apostle Paul explains that:
“The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.”
So when you think of the 10 Commandments, instead of thinking how hard they are to keep, try thinking of them this way:
“Thank you God that you gave us the commandments to show us how impossible it is to keep them on our own, and why we so desperately need a savior! Thank you that through faith in Jesus I can be completely forgiven for every time that I broke any of the commandments. And thank you that by the power of the Holy Spirit within me I CAN live a holy and righteous life in accordance with what your commandments ask of me.”
Those who wait on the Lord are those who recognize their need for Him. It is these that God grants access to His heavenly throne. The mountain of God represents the heavenlies. We are called to dwell in heavenly places. Those who wait on the Lord as it says here in verse four; are carried on Eagles wings, and as it says in Isaiah 41, they are renewed and strengthened, freed from weariness.
If we try to move in the things of God without waiting on God will be operating not as Eagles but Turkeys. Whatever we try to do will go nowhere. Whatever problems we face will consume us for only Eagles fly above storms.
God desires His children to bring forth His will in heaven on earth, to do this, we must daily wait on Him until we are taken in the spirit onto the mountain of the Lord where we hear from Him and gain our instructions for the assignment He has placed in our hearts.
Those who have the upper hand are those who operate from this higher position. They see situations from a heavenly perspective, from above and not beneath. Those who hear and obey God's instructions are those as it says in verse six, who are set apart as a special treasure who walk in the authority of the King and His Kingdom as a royal priesthood, a holy nation manifesting the glory of God throughout the earth.
Have you ever made a sincere promise to someone but failed to accomplish it? You may have a legit excuse but it never feels good to disappoint people, especially your own family.
Moses after receiving instructions from God now tells the children of Israel and they respond by saying they will do what God commands. As we will see, this is easier said, than done. At the moment, people usually follow the majority, but on their own, they do differently.
It is one thing to accept Jesus as Savior it is another to make Him Lord. Calling on Jesus to save us when life gets hard is much different than submitting our entire life to Him.
Moses now is told to have the people consecrate themselves in preparation for God to come down on the third day in a cloud and speak to them. Barriers were established though so the people didn't get too close to the mountain for they would die.
Through the death of Jesus Christ, the veil (barrier) was torn in two symbolizing that those who accept the saving work of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins now has direct access to God, the Father.
Through the resurrection of Jesus on the third day and the gift of the Holy Spirit that followed when Jesus ascended, mankind can live a resurrected life. Sin is now defeated and we like Moses can go up the mountain. As children of God, we are called to dwell with Him in Heavenly places. Through the Spirit, we can have mountaintop experiences all the time. We can know the secrets of God and walk in the power of God to advance the Kingdom of God wherever He has placed us.
It is time that each of us goes upward and stop dwelling in lower places. We are called on high we will go through valleys but it is only to help us see areas that need to be pruned so we can climb Mt. Sion even higher until we are on top completely transformed into the image of the Son.
No matter how sincere we are we cannot obey God's commands in our own limited natural ability. We must daily go up to Mt. Sion to be empowered from above in order to live the resurrected life free from sin.