Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

1.The Making of the 10 Commandments – Part 1

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Exodus 19:1-7

“Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt,[a] 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.” 

As we start this new series looking at the 10 Commandments, we need to approach it with the understand that they are built around relationships not rules. It’s here in Exodus 19 that we see first the:

  1. Revelation

The giving of the 10 commandments starts with God’s call for Moses to meet Him on the mountain. This was more than just a meeting to get a list of rules but a reminder of the importance to rest in a relationship with the Redeemer. For it is here that God reminds His people that He is the One who rescues and redeems us. It begins with the reminder that God is the One who does the work. For God reveals that He alone is the One who brought His people to Himself on eagle’s wings. It starts with God’s Work not ours. Many people view the 10 commandments as a list of rules to get to God. But the 10 commandments are our response to God’s redemption, not the road to redemption. The gift of grace that we are in danger of missing here is that God brings us to Himself. Verse 4 “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” He wanted Moses to understand that He was bringing His people not to a land, but to a Person. God said, I brought you to myself.” He wants us to come to Him and know Him. That is why, after many years in the ministry, the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi in Philippians 3:10 to remind them of what should be the deepest desire of every true disciple: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”Paul came to know the Lord as his Savior when he met Him on the Damascus road. And after all those years of serving the Lord, he said, “My greatest goal in life is to know Jesus.” Today we have made it all about growing and very little about knowing God. But you can’t grow in the Lord without knowing the Lord. The goal is not growing its knowing God, growing is a byproduct of knowing. The more you know Him the more you will grow in Him. The meaning of life is to know the Lord. So, how well do you know Him? When was the last time you journey to Jesus and met Him on the mountain? It took time and effort for Moses to climb the mountain to meet with God. Why don’t we make time to meet with God on the mountain? Because we are lazy, because relationship takes time and we are in a hurry. Because we have made it more about getting that about God. So, we base our time with God more on our problems than His presence and as long as everything is fine, we don’t take the time. We are chasing the byproducts of the relationship, the provision and the peace more than His presence. So, His presence is not our priority. Yes, God’s plan involves His peace, His provision and His protection but without His presence we will never experience them. But we are reminded that the goal here is God, it’s not knowing about God but knowing God, Not an intellectual pursuit but an interconnected one. A heart knowing not a head growing. Sadly, many Christians are stuffing their heads and starving their hearts. Settling for a head knowledge instead of a heart knowing. Full heads and empty hearts. When God says that he carried the Israelites on the wings of an eagle to Himself He is referring to the work He did to ransomed them out of slavery by the blood of the Lamb. Because of the blood death is replaced by deliverance. God turns bondage to blessed as His people go from slaves to set free. In Exodus 20:3 God reminds Moses of His Redeeming power as He says, “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”The Israelites didn’t rescue themselves by following a list of rules but through responding to the work of the Redeemer. Being carried on the wings of an eagle speaks of flight. On our own we can’t reach God. God is much too high for man to come close to by His own works and ability. There is no way for man to get to God. So, God sent His Eagle to pick His people up and carry them to Himself. It’s through the work of the Savior not self that we are saved. So, let me ask you, have you come to God through Christ’s finished work on the cross? It’s through His finished work of redemption that we are not only raised up from the dead but raised to sit with Christ in heavenly realms [Eph. 2:6].When we forget that it’s all about God’s gift of grace, we start trying to fly by rules instead of resting in our relationship. It becomes about a list of rules instead of a relationship with the Lord. Religion relies on rules, but a relationship relies on the Redeemer. That’s why religion follows a list, but a relationship follows the Lord. Are you making it about a list or about the Lord? Some of you started with the Lord but then you traded the Lord for a list, that’s legalism. Why do legalistic Christians suck the life out of living and make ministry so miserable? Because they love the list instead of loving the Lord. So, their life revolves around the rules instead of the Redeemer along with everyone they can control. They end up pointing people to their constant and exhausting work instead of Christs finished and energizing work. But what did God say to Moses, “I brought you to myself.” It revolves around a relationship with the Lord not a list of rules. Are you living for the Lord or legalism? Lists lead to legalism and legalism leads back to the bondage and slavery Egypt. God didn’t rescue you from slavery to serve a list but to serve the Lord. Some of you are slaves to secrete sin but some of you are stuck in the prison of performance because your life revolves around the rules instead of the Redeemer. Legalistic list keeping causes us to trade meaningful lives for miserable ones.Have you gotten so wrapped up in the list that you are missing the Lord? We don’t just come to Christ through grace we continue running the race by grace. Moses was not called to maintain and live by a list he was called to the mountain to do life with the Lord. We come to God through Christ’s finished work on the cross. Receiving grace always bring us close to God. But the second you try to deserve God’s blessings by your own good works you will discover a deep distance between you and God. It’s not just about receiving what Jesus has done for us by placing our faith in the blood that blots out our sin but resting in that blood bought forgiveness and freedom. Are you making it about a list of rules or about a relationship with the Lord?

 

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