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Exodus 25:1-9; 35:4-36:7 – The Gift of Giving

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120226_exodus25_1-9.mp3

2/26 Exodus 25:1-9 The Gift of Giving (Ex.35:4-36:7)

God has rescued his people. He has saved them by a mighty demonstration of his power. He has redeemed them. He has brought them to himself. He has instructed and taught them what it means to be in a relationship with him. God now gives them the gift of his presence. God will take up residence and dwell among his people. God here instructs his people to build the tabernacle, a sanctuary, a holy place, not because he needs a home, but so that they will understand what it means to have a holy God living among them, and so that they will know that he indeed is dwelling with them. If I were to ask you what the book of Exodus is about, what would you say? I would expect to hear things like ‘God rescuing his people from Egypt’ or ‘the ten plagues’ or ‘the ten commandments’; but if we look at what is most important based simply on what gets the most pages of text devoted to it, we would have to say that Exodus is about the tabernacle; about God dwelling with his people. In the next seven chapters, we have detailed instructions as to how this structure is to be constructed. Then we have two chapters narrating how the Israelites made up their own way to worship and in the process violated their covenant with God. God mercifully forgives their transgression and renews his covenant with them, and the rest of the book details how they faithfully constructed the tabernacle according to the divine specifications. The book concludes with God’s awesome presence coming to dwell with his people. So Exodus is about salvation and rescue and deliverance, and Exodus is about the giving of God’s law, but a major focus of Exodus is God’s gracious presence with his people. God’s stated purpose for the Exodus was ‘that they may serve me’ or ‘worship me’ (Ex.4:23; 7:16; 8:1,20; 9:1,13; 10:3). So we have come to the focal point of the book.

Exodus 25:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. 3 And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, 5 tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

This section (25-31) starts with the invitation to give to supply the materials for the construction, and then moves through the construction from the most important things that are closest to God’s presence and works its way outward away from the presence of God. The section that records the actual building of the tabernacle (35-40) also starts with the collection of the materials, but then proceeds in the sequence of actual construction. This is God’s invitation to give.

Notice a few things about this invitation to give. First it is entirely voluntary. There are other places where giving is commanded, like the tenth that goes to support those who labor in service to the Lord (Num.18:24), but here all are given the opportunity to contribute, but it is to be purely voluntary. ‘From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me’. If your heart doesn’t move you to give, then don’t give. When Paul was talking about collecting a special offering to help the destitute saints in Jerusalem, he said:

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Paul highlights the abundant generosity of those in Macedonia:

2 Corinthians 8:1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints– 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

“Begging earnestly for the favor of taking part” in this offering!

Flip over to Exodus 35 and we’ll see how the people responded to God’s invitation to give:

Exodus 35:4 Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. 5 Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; 6 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; goats’ hair, 7 tanned rams’ skins, and goatskins; acacia wood, 8 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 9 and onyx stones and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. …

20 Then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21 And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the LORD’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22 So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the LORD. 23 And every one who possessed blue or purple or scarlet yarns or fine linen or goats’ hair or tanned rams’ skins or goatskins brought them. 24 Everyone who could make a contribution of silver or bronze brought it as the LORD’s contribution. And every one who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work brought it. 25 And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. 26 All the women whose hearts stirred them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair. 27 And the leaders brought onyx stones and stones to be set, for the ephod and for the breastpiece, 28 and spices and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.

…36:3 And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5 and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” 6 So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.

We see such an overwhelming response of eager participation that Moses had to restrain the people from giving by a command, because they brought too much. “Whoever is of a generous heart; everyone whose heart stirred him, everyone whose spirit moved him; all who were of a willing heart; all the women whose heart stirred them to use their skill; all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring anything brought it as a freewill offering; they still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning; the people bring much more than enough!”

So this offering was to be voluntary and joyfully given. We also see that this offering was specific. God stated exactly what was to be given. Not your worn-out couch and your jeans that don’t fit, not the winter boots you never wear and that big old television that you replaced with the latest technology wide-screen. God specified exactly what was needed, and it was to be the very best. Gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, the finest dyed fabrics and skins, oils and wood products. The people were to worship God in the way he specified, not in whatever way they chose.

So the offering was to be joyful and voluntary, it was to be only what God specified, and it was given to God. God told Moses ‘you shall receive a contribution for me‘. Moses was to facilitate the giving, the materials went to God’s appointed Spirit-filled craftsmen to do the actual building, but the giving was giving to God. God was the one who asked, and God was the one who ultimately received the offering.

But let’s remember, lest we have the attitude when we give that we are helping God out and meeting some deficiency in him, Paul reminds us in Romans:

Romans 11:35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

And James reminds us:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

So anything we give belonged to God already, he entrusted it to us to use as wise stewards of his resources, and we are simply returning a portion of it at his request. Jesus told a parable about the wicked tenants of his vineyard who acted as if what they were entrusted with belonged to him (Mt.21; Mk.12; Lk.20). It didn’t end so well for them. Here in Exodus, we could ask, where did the people get all this stuff that they donated? After all, they fled as fugitive slaves from Egypt. Remember back in chapter 3, God said:

Exodus 3:21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

And we see this fulfilled in Exodus 12:

Exodus 12:35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Now God is asking for a portion of what he had given them to be freely and voluntarily given back to him.

To Dwell In Their Midst

Let’s look again at the purpose for all this giving.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

God’s intention was to create a holy space in which he would bless the people with the gift of his presence. That is why precision had to be taken in following his instructions. This, remember, is to be a replica of the heavenly presence of God, literally a piece of heaven on earth. Soldiers on the move would camp around the tent of their king. God himself is coming as King to pitch his tent in the middle of his people. The Commander of his army comes to sit enthroned in the center of the war-camp of Israel. The purpose of the tabernacle was the presence of God with his people. This points us to the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, quoted in the gospel according to Matthew:

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

The tabernacle was a picture of God dwelling with his people that finds its fulfillment in Jesus. This portable sanctuary was replaced in the time of Solomon by a more permanent structure, the temple. Jesus said:

Matthew 12:6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.

Something greater than the temple! What was Jesus claiming? In the beginning of the gospel of John, we are told of Jesus:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This word ‘dwelt’ is directly connected back to the tabernacle. We could translate it ‘the Word became flesh and pitched his tent, or tabernacled among us. In John 2, when questioned about proof of his authority for cleansing the temple:

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” …21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Jesus referred to his human body as a temple. He became flesh and tabernacled among us. Jesus is Immanuel – God with us. Something greater than the temple is here! This is indeed good news.

But it doesn’t stop here! Biblically, we can take this concept of God dwelling with his people one step further. Jesus said

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, … for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Then Jesus says:

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Paul pointed us in Colossians1:27 to “the hope of glory, which is Christ in you.” He tells us in Ephesians 3:17 “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Jesus went on to say:

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, taking up residence in you! Paul in Ephesians 2 describes the the people who make up Christ’s church as:

Ephesians 2:19 …fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 describes himself as a skilled master builder laying the one foundation – and that one foundation is Jesus Christ. He warns us not to lay any other foundation, and he warns us to take care how we build on that foundation. He goes on to say:

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you [corporately] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

You, the people in whom God resides, you all, who as a group make up the church, are God’s temple. In 1 Corinthians 6, he applies this to the individual believer who is tempted with sexual immorality. He says:

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body [individually] is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

In 2 Corinthians 6, arguing for purity and separation from partnership with that which is not of God, he says:

2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

We are the temple of the living God. God has made his dwelling in us, the church, in us, believers.

Contributions for the New Covenant Temple

Now let’s bring this back around to the invitation to contribute, and ask, in light of the temple now being us, those in whom God dwells, in what way can we contribute to the construction efforts today. How can we contribute to the building of God’s church today? And when you hear the word ‘church’, please try to retrain yourself to think, not of a building, but of people. God’s church is made up of people. How can we be a part of building a dwelling place for God in the hearts of people of every tribe and tongue and nation (Rev.5:9)?

First, as Jesus commissioned us, we can go:

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

And second, we can send. Paul points us to the good news for every nation:

Romans 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. …13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And then he asks the question:

Romans 10:14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

May our giving and our going be glad, voluntary, joyful, eager participation in the privilege of giving and of serving. In our giving and our serving, may it be to God and not to man. May our giving be a giving back to God out of the abundance of grace that has been poured into our hearts. And may we savor the awesome presence of God, Father, Son and Spirit, who makes his home in us today. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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February 26, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 24:9-18; Feasting in the Presence of God

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120219_exodus24_9-18.mp3

2/19 Exodus 24:9-18 Feasting in God’s Presence

We are in Exodus 24, which is the hinge-pin of the book, linking the narrative of God’s redemption of his people with the instructions for worship in God’s presence. God is revealing himself to his people on the mountain. He is teaching about himself, declaring what he is like, preparing his people to be in his presence. God is entering into a covenant relationship with his people. But God is holy, and we are sinners. God has established sacrifice as a way to address our sin problem. The wages of sin is death, so blood must be shed; either our own, or God’s provision of a substitute. In this chapter, as we saw last time, the blood of the covenant is splattered all over the people, a foreshadow of Jesus, who offers his own blood, the blood of the new covenant, not applied externally and temporarily, but once for all effecting the forgiveness of sins, and causing inward transformation.

At the beginning of this covenant ceremony, we saw the sacrifices made and the blood applied. In the remainder of the chapter, we see the continuation of the covenant ceremony; the covenant meal, and the formal documentation of the covenant.

Lets look at the first two verses of Exodus 24 and then pick up in verse 9, where we left off last time.

Exodus 24:1 Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the LORD, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

Exodus 24:9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

This gives the historical setting for the rest of the book. Chapters 25-31 record the details of the construction of the tabernacle given to Moses while he is on the mountain in the presence of God. Chapters 32-34 document the people’s violation of the covenant, Moses’ prayer of intercession, and the renewal of the covenant. Chapters 35-40 see Israel building the tabernacle according to the instructions given in 25-31.

Holiness of God

We saw in the book of Hebrews that the tabernacle is designed to be a copy of the real presence of God. The tabernacle was to be constructed with three main sections, the outer court, the holy place, and the most holy place, which is patterned after what is happening here on the mountain. God denied access to the people in general, but invited the leaders of Israel to come part way up, and Moses alone to come all the way up. This is designed to teach the holiness of God. That God is holy means that God is absolutely distinct, separate, other -he is not part of his creation; he is over and above, infinitely more excellent than his creation. He is holy in his being, in his very essence. His existence is different from our existence. He is eternal; we are temporal. He is infinite; we are finite. He is self-existent; we are dependent. God is morally perfect and pure; we are fallen and flawed, sinners by nature and by choice. God is holy, and he is to be approached only by those who are purified and authorized by him and only when and in the way that he himself proscribes. God is holy, he is not to be approached casually or carelessly, and never without blood.

God Initiates

Here we see this all-holy God initiate a relationship with his people. He invites them to come near. God is always the initiator; we are those who respond to his invitation. God defines who is to come and how far they are to come. Only the seventy elders, the three priests, and Moses are invited to come up. And then, Moses alone is invited to come near to the LORD. In the tabernacle, only the high priest, only once a year, only with the sacrificial blood, was allowed into the most holy place. Jesus took only three of his disciples up the mount of transfiguration with him.

Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn.6:44); Jesus said “come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt.11:28); and “let the little children come to me” (Mt.19:14); and “if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (Jn.7:27); and “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (Jn.6:35); and “all that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (Jn.6:37). And at the moment Jesus finished his work on the cross, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Mt.27:51; Mk.15:38; Lk.23:45).

Paul tells us:

Romans 5:2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Ephesians 3:11 …in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God has initiated. You are invited. Come. Enter in. The way is opened to you through the blood of the spotless Lamb of God, Jesus. Draw near.

Seeing God

This section of Exodus is amazing, because it tells us that God invited, and

Exodus 24:9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

They beheld God! They saw the God of Israel! What does this mean? Because just a few chapters later, when Moses asks God to show him his glory, he is told:

Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” …20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

“You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” This is the consistent fearful testimony of all who have had any kind of encounter with God. Jacob:

Genesis 32:30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

Gideon:

Judges 6:22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.”

The parents of Samson:

Judges 13:22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”

Isaiah:

Isaiah 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Alas! Woe is me! We shall surely die! Man shall not see me and live. Even in this passage, the exceptional nature of what happened is highlighted. It says “he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel.” It is a fearful thing for any person to be in the presence of perfect holiness.

But is there a contradiction here? We are told that they did see God, but Jesus teaches that God is spirit (Jn.4:24), and the unanimous testimony of the New Testament is that God is invisible (Rom.1:20; Col.1:15; 1Tim.1:17; 6:16; Heb.11:27). Twice we are told unequivocally “no one has ever seen God” (Jn.1:18; 1Jn.4:20). Jesus himself says that no one has seen the Father (Jn.6:46). So, what are we to make of this when it says they beheld God? First, lets look back at the text to see exactly what it was that the Israelite leaders did see. It says:

Exodus 24:10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

They recognized that they were in the presence of God. But what they describe seeing was the pavement under his feet. It is as if they were not able to lift their eyes above the pavement in his presence. The pavement itself was staggeringly beautiful. It was like lapiz lazuli or sapphire; with depth and clarity like the heavens. The prophet Ezekiel describes something similar; he has a vision of four living creatures.

Ezekiel 1:22 Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. …26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Do you hear how many times he says ‘the likeness of, the appearance of, as it were? He is groping for adequate vocabulary to put into words what he saw. God is spirit, but he can manifest himself in a visual way to his people. God is spirit, as Paul says “who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no on has ever seen or can see” (1Tim.6:16). God is invisible, God is infinite, God is everywhere present, There is no way human eyes could ever take in all that God is.

So what of Job’s longing “yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold” (Job 19:26-27) or the longing of the Psalmist “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness”, and “One thing …will I seek after: …to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD” (Ps.17:15; 27:4)? If God cannot be seen, what of the longing in the heart of every believer to look into the face of God? This finds its fulfillment in Jesus. John tells us:

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Jesus is the ultimate visible manifestation of the Father. This has led theologians throughout the history of the church to conclude that any time in the Old Testament that God was seen in some way, it was God the Son, the second person of the trinity making his Father known.

So the leaders of Israel were invited in to the presence of God, to get a glimpse of his majesty, to enjoy a covenant meal. They beheld God, and ate and drank. Then Moses was invited to come up and receive the written copies of the covenant agreement. Covenants in that day were made between a conquering king and his new subjects. Two identical copies would be written, one kept by the king and one given to his subjects. This is what we see happening here.

Exodus 24:12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

Aaron and Hur, who held up Moses’ hands on the hill while Joshua fought the Amalekites in chapter 17, are left to settle any disputes that arise in Moses’ absence. After an awesome manifestation of God’s presence like this, who would have disputes? This sets the stage for what we will find in chapter 32.

Exodus 24:15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

This is the awesome setting of the next seven chapters. The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai. This word ‘dwelt’ is the root of the word translated ‘tabernacle’, the sanctuary that Moses was instructed to build. God tabernacled on Mount Sinai, in preparation to dwell with his people (Ex.25:8). The glory of God appeared like a devouring fire, and Moses was invited up into the glory cloud. Moses spends almost a month and a half in the glory cloud, in the consuming fire, sustained by the covenant meal, being shown the heavenly tabernacle, of which he was to build a replica, to show that God indeed wants to dwell with his people.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

 

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 24:1-8; The Blood of the Covenant

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120212_exodus24_1-8.mp3

2/12 Exodus 24:1-8 The Blood of the Covenant

We are in Exodus chapter 24. This is the hinge pin of the book, linking the two halves of Exodus together. The first half of Exodus is the narrative of God rescuing his people from slavery in Egypt, bringing them into relationship with him. The second half of the book is primarily taken up with God’s instructions for the construction of a portable worship center for his people, known as the Tabernacle. This chapter brings to a climax the giving of the Law and the people’s response to God’s revelation, formally entering into a covenant relationship with him.

Foreshadow of the Tabernacle

Exodus 24:1 Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the LORD, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

This three-tiered arrangement, that we will see unfold in greater detail, foreshadows the Tabernacle, with its outer court, holy place, and most holy place. Or, more accurately, the Tabernacle was intended to replicate what God’s presence, as experienced here on the mountain, was like. The author of Hebrews makes this clear to us:

Hebrews 8:5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”

Hebrews 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)

…23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

This is why the construction of the Tabernacle is so significant that it takes up the majority of the remainder of Exodus. This structure was patterned after God’s presence, and was designed to communicate what he is like to his people. What is happening here on the mountain will be memorialized in the design of the tabernacle, showing that God is holy, and is to be approached only by those who are authorized by him, and only when and in the way that he defines. More on this later.

Covenant Commitment

In the next verses we see the formal covenant ceremony unfold. Lets step back and take in the big picture. God rescued his people out of slavery. He has demonstrated his love toward them. He chose them, he has cared for them, and he is forming them into a community of people who will be what they were created to be, to live in relationship with him, to be in his presence, to follow him and obey him and enjoy him forever. He put his fear in them as he thundered out his ten words to them from the mountain. He has given clear and practical instructions on what life lived in the community of faith should look like. God has given his people promises, promises to be with them, to lead them and provide for them, promises to fight their battles, promises of abundant blessings. And he has warned them of the dangers of straying from him, the dangers of rebelling against him, the dangers of neglecting to follow him.

Chapter 24 is the culmination of this covenant relationship between God and his people. Back in chapter 19, God brought his people to the foot of the mountain.

Exodus 19:2 …There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.

That was before God had laid out all the details of what this relationship would look like. After this God revealed himself to the people directly when he thundered out his ten words, and they were terrified and requested that Moses mediate for them so that they would not die in God’s presence. God then communicated the book of the covenant to Moses, and now in chapter 24, Moses is relaying its contents to the people.

Exodus 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.”

The initial response of the people, when God had invited them into a covenant relationship with himself, before they knew all the details of this agreement, was:

Exodus 19:8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.

Now, having heard 5 chapters worth of detail spelling out exactly what this covenant would look like and what was expected of them,

Exodus 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.”

Covenant Ratified in Blood

And now the covenant ratification ceremony began. God had initiated and offered to enter in to relationship with them. They responded positively. God then communicated to them all the details of the relationship, and they reaffirm their commitment to this relationship. Now, it is put in writing. Verse 4 says:

Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. …

A verbal agreement leaves room for dispute over what exactly was agreed to. A written contract removes much of this.

Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Now, having heard the written copy read to all the people, for the third time the people respond by saying “all that the LORD has spoken we will do, and be obedient.” Three times God’s people respond with their commitment to obedience.

But this is not just a covenant entered with a handshake or by signing on the dotted line. Moses built an altar, a place to interact with God. He erected 12 pillars, symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel. He had a bunch of animals slaughtered. He got the young men involved. They offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings. They caught the blood in basins. They splattered it all over. This was a bloody scene. All this bloody mess is because the people God is entering into a relationship with are sinners who have rebelled against their Creator. God is holy. He hates sin. His response to sinful people is holy hatred (Ps.5:5; 11:5; 139:21-22) and just punishment. So their sin must be addressed. First, burnt offerings were offered, then peace offerings were sacrificed. The burnt offering (Lev.1:4) was given to atone for or to cover sin. The offerer would lay his hand on the head of the animal, symbolically transferring guilt to the animal, and the animal would die in his place, because the wages of sin is death. The whole animal would then be burnt on the altar to appease God’s wrath against sin. The peace offering (Deut.27:7), or fellowship offering, was a celebration of reconciliation with God, produced by having sins atoned for. Hebrews highlights the importance of the blood.

Hebrews 9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

In order for a holy God to enter into any kind of relationship with sinful people other than judgment, the blood of a substitute had to be shed. Moses’ words are “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” The blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you. The blood was applied to the people, splattered on the people. They had entered into a covenant with God. The people promised, but they did not follow through. A mere 40 days later, as we will see in chapter 32, the people are already violating their covenant, turning away from God and his commands, running after other gods. They promised obedience, but their hearts were not changed. They broke this covenant. This makes room for a new covenant. In Hebrews 8, the author quotes Jeremiah 31 and compares these covenants.

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. 8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The New Covenant

The old covenant was broken. The people promised, but they could not follow through. God promises a new covenant, and he says “I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts.” No longer written externally in a book or on tablets of stone, but now inscribed in the transformed hearts of his people. Ezekiel puts it this way:

Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

This is the promise of the New Covenant; inward transformation by the Spirit of God. We hear Moses’ words “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you” taken up on the lips of another.

Matthew 26:26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (cf. Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; 1Cor.11:25)

Luke records “this …is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk.22:20). Moses said “this is the blood of the covenant”; Jesus said “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The blood Moses sprinkled on the people was the blood of animals. Hebrews tells us “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb.10:4). Jesus said “this is my blood”; the blood of the only Son of God, the God-man. The blood of Jesus, poured out once for all is infinitely precious and does indeed take away sin.

God had said:

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

God had given the blood of animals as a substitution; life for life. But the life blood of animals applied externally was never sufficient to cleanse the conscience. Moses put the blood in basins and sprinkled it on the people, but Jesus said “Drink of it, all of you.” Under the old covenant, the blood was applied externally. In the new covenant, the life of Jesus is transferred inside of his people. Paul says:

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

This is the new covenant! It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me! This is limitless power for a life of obedience! The book of Hebrews concludes with this blessing:

Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 23:20-33; Promises, Warnings, and The Angel of His Presence

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120205_exodus23_20-33.mp3

02/05 Exodus 23:20-33 The Angel of His Presence

We come now to the conclusion of God’s instructions given to his people at Sinai. He has communicated to them his expectations for what life lived in community with God should look like. He is a God who loves justice and righteousness, kindness and compassion. He alone is to be feared and worshiped and obeyed, and his presence is to be enjoyed. Here, at the conclusion of his commandments, he pours out good promises to his people, and he gives them clear warnings. This is a passage of promises and warnings. I want to look first today at his great and precious promises and heed carefully his dire warnings, and then I want to turn our attention to the primary promise, the ‘who’ of the promise, the angel of his presence.

God has rescued a people out of slavery to be in relationship with him, to be his very own. He has led them and fed them and rescued them from all danger. He has put up with their grumbling and complaining. He has revealed himself to them, and has communicated with them his character and nature. He has given them clear instructions for life within the community of God’s people. Now he is making them promises. He is going to lead them through the wilderness and bring them into a land he has promised to give them. He is promising victory to them. He is promising to fight their battles. He is even revealing to them some of how he is going to give them victory, and why he is going to do it that way. He promises to care for their needs. He promises to bless them abundantly.

But these promises are conditional. He will do these things “if”. And so there is warning. Let’s look at the promises, and then let’s look at the warnings.

Exodus 23:20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. 22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23 “When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24 you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. 25 You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 26 None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 27 I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. 31 And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. 32 You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

God’s Good Promises

God promises to send his angel before us. The promise of his presence with us is the greatest promise, so we will save it ’till the end. He says he will

guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared

God’s protection is promised on the paths of life. Where ever you go, I will be guarding you. And I have a goal in mind. I will bring you to that place. I will make sure you get there. Your way will not be unopposed. You will have enemies. But I will be an adversary to your adversaries and and enemy to your enemies. I will bring you to face your enemies, but I will blot them out. I will bless your food supply; I will keep you healthy and make you fruitful. I will make your days full and satisfying. I will send my terror and confusion on your enemies, and cause them to run away from you. And here’s how I will do it. I will do it little by little, because if I drove them out all at once, you would not be able to maintain the land. So I will keep them in the land to maintain it for you, and I will drive them out slowly over time, so that you can enjoy the land, so the land does not become overgrown with weeds and overrun with wild beasts. I will gradually give you the whole extent of the land that I promised as your possession. These are big and rich and generous and far-reaching promises. God keeps his promises. At the end of the book of Joshua, we are told:

Joshua 21:44 And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands.

Then in chapter 23 Joshua says

Joshua 23:14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

God has kept all his promises. Joshua continues with a challenge and a warning

Warnings for our Good

Joshua 23:15 But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, 16 if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”

This would have struck home to the people of Joshua’s day. Their parents forfeited God’s promises and died in the wilderness because of their disobedience to God’s clear instructions. God makes good and gracious promises to his people, but he also warns us so that we don’t miss out on enjoying the blessings he provides. Let’s look at the warnings God gives his people here in Exodus 23. He tells them to pay careful attention; to obey his voice, he warns not to rebel against him, for he will not pardon their transgression. He warns not to bow down to or serve the false gods of the people who dwell in the land, or to imitate their cultures. He instructs his people to completely eradicate any trace of their false religions. He warns against making any agreement with the people or their gods. He clearly warns that the danger of allowing idolaters to remain in the land is that they will influence God’s people to sin against God. They will be a snare, a trap, luring them away from enjoying the reality of a relationship with the true God and enticing them to buy a counterfeit. God warns us because we need to be warned. We have an incessant tendency to become enamored with anything and everything besides God. The desires of the flesh, the deceitfulness of riches, the pride of life, the desire for other things constantly competes for our affection. This warning and command is not the restrictive command of a lover afraid of being left for someone else; this is the kind of warning that says ‘if you touch the stove, you will experience pain and injury’. God demands that we have no other gods, not because he is emotionally needy and craves our attention, but because he doesn’t want us to get burned. If genuine fulfillment and blessing comes only in relationship with him, then turning to other gods is turning away from the only source of real life. Our souls will only be satisfied in him, and he wants to spare us the pain of endlessly running after dead-end damning lies.

The author of Hebrews holds up the Exodus generation as a warning to us New Testament believers; a warning against turning our hearts away from the Lord.

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works 10 for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ 11 As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” 12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

We need these warnings today because there is a danger for us today. We have a tendency to ‘go astray in our hearts’, and our hearts can easily become ‘hardened by the deceitfulness of sin’. The exodus generation, who were the recipients of so much of God’s revealed truth, and experienced so many of his physical blessings, were disobedient and did not enter in because of unbelief. The author goes on to exhort us:

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

Physical vs. Spiritual

For them the battle was physical. Their enemies were external and physical; Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, Jebusites. The dangers they faced were tangible and physical; starvation, sickness, barrenness, miscarriage. Their borders were physical; from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, from the wilderness to the Euphrates. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood (Eph.6:12). The passions of the flesh wage war against our souls (1Pet.2:11). The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2Cor.10:4, cf.6:7). We are called to:

1 Timothy 1:18 … wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

And we have greater promises of victory.

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Angel of His Presence

This brings us back to the beginning of the passage and the greatest promise of blessing that God gives. We need to ask the ‘who’ question. Who is the ‘angel’ that God sends to see that his promises are fulfilled? In verse 20 it is ‘an angel’ and in verse 23 it is ‘my angel’ and he is simply referred to in the other verses as ‘he’ or ‘him’. It will be helpful to know that the word ‘angel’ in the bible does not necessarily mean a guardian spirit or a superhuman winged creature. ‘Angel’ can simply be translated ‘messenger’. Let’s look at what this passage says about this messenger of God.

It says he was sent by God, that he goes before God’s people, that he serves as guardian on their journey, and delivers them to the place prepared by God for them. It tells us that he must be obeyed, that he has the authority to forgive or not forgive, that God’s own name is in him. We are told that to obey him is to do what God says, that he brings us to our enemies and God blots them out, that he blesses us and God fulfills our days.

This is not the first time that this messenger shows up in the bible. We have seen him before, when God called Moses.

Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. …4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

The messenger of the LORD appeared; and God called to him out of the bush. The Angel of the LORD is equated with God. He shows up again at the Red Sea crossing.

Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

Exodus 14:19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them,

So the angel of God is identified with the LORD himself, and is associated with the cloud, but is distinguished from the cloud. I think it is this same figure that shows up to Joshua in fulfillment of God’s promises.

Joshua 5:13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Let’s look back at what Exodus 23 says about this messenger and see if we can make the connection with Jesus.

We are told that he is God’s angel or God’s messenger.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We are told that he was sent by God

John 5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

He goes before God’s people

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

He is with us as guardian on the journey

John 17:12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

He leads us to the place prepared by God

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

He must be obeyed

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

He has authority to forgive

Mark 2:5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” …7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

God’s name is in him – he possesses the character and nature of God

John 10:30 I and the Father are one.”

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

To obey him is to obey God.

John 13:20 Truly, truly, I say to you,…whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

He overcomes our enemies.

Colossians 2:13 …having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

He satisfies our hungers and makes us fruitful

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

We have such great and precious promises in Jesus. Let us heed God’s warnings and obey his only Son, Jesus

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , | 1 Comment