Do you know what the “2009 Word of the Year” was according to the New Oxford American Dictionary?
This word has been brought to us by the wonderful world of Facebook. Here’s an example of properly using the word in a sentence: “I have, like, 800 friends, so I decided to unfriend the people I don’t really care about.”
Do you realize that it is only possible to unfriend someone whom you have previously friended? And personally, I think friended is a much nicer word than unfriended. Maybe it was the “Word of the Year” in 2008.
Here’s how friending works in the world of Facebook: you come across a relative or an old acquaintance or classmate you haven’t talked to in years… and you can friend them. You can reestablish the relationship, which for me means communication continues to be limited or non-existent, but every once in a while I’ll stalk your page when Facebook prompts me to. But nevertheless, it’s an amazing thing that was not possible a few years ago.
It’s a great picture of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
Jesus, being God, left heaven and became a man to live, to die, and to live again to reestablish a relationship with us that had become broken because of our sin. You and I have been friended by Christ and are invited into a brand new life with Him!
We each have a pending friend request from Jesus; each of us has to confirm or reject that request on our own. Let me tell you, making Jesus your best friend is the smartest move you can make, and the intent of this blog is to help you follow Jesus who died to friend you.
ONE SPECIAL DUDE
Let’s recap where we’ve been the last few days. God brings the nation of Israel to Mt. Sinai to give them His Law and to re-establish His covenant with them. Moses is spending lots of time with God, and God is giving him all sorts of instructions.
The Israelites agree to keep God’s Law and are bound to the covenant. But a couple weeks later, they break God’s Law in a bad way. Lots of them die because of their sin, which shows just how seriously God takes sin.
We’ve also read about several encounters with God, which describe the majesty and holiness of God and also detail the great fear people felt as God came near to them. Today and tomorrow we’ll finish up looking at Moses by reading one more encounter he has with God.
Put yourself in Moses’ sandals. Imagine that you are the one talking with God and getting ready to go see Him…
At the end of yesterday’s reading, Moses, Aaron, and the 70 elders of Israel went partway up Mt. Sinai and saw God. Exodus 24:11 reads, “they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
It seems that they only saw His feet, but still! That in itself is a very intriguing thing to imagine. What would it have been like to be a part of that group?
Seven days later, God invites Moses alone to come all the way up the mountain to meet with Him and be given the law. Read verses 17-18 again:
17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
So for forty days there is no communication between Moses and the Israelites. Moses couldn’t send them twitter updates or text messages to let them know how things were going.
Do you wonder if the Israelites began to wonder if Moses was ever coming back? Do you think that some of them began to get tired of waiting? Let’s see what they ended up doing while their leader was away…
NOTHIN’ BUT THE BLOOD
God has given the Israelites the 10 commandments and the expectations He has for how they are to live. He has told them what He will do as their “King” by providing for them and blessing them. He is re-establishing the covenant He made hundreds of years ago with Abraham.
We looked yesterday at God’s promises… his part of the bargain with the Israelites. Now it is up to Israel to respond… to ratify the covenant.
GOD’S GOT YOUR BACK
On the way out of Egypt to the Promised Land, the nation of Israel takes a detour and makes a pit stop at Mt. Sinai. God leads them here because there is some business that He needs to take care of with them before they can enter the Promised Land.
They stay here for a few months, and during this time God is re-establishing His covenant with His people. This covenant is a relational agreement between God and Israel, and its essence can be summarized as “He will be their God, and they will be His people.”
God gives them commands to follow to keep their part of the agreement. Today we will look at a passage in which God explains what He will do for them, how He will bless them as they fully obey Him as their Lord and Master…
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
In giving Israel the 10 Commandments, God simply and succintly defines how this nation is to respect and honor Him and treat other people. The 10 Commandments are also a reflection of God’s moral character. They give us insight into who He is and what it means to be holy.
God speaks these words from the top of Mt. Sinai. This is such an important message that God delivers it directly to the people as they are assembled at the bottom of the mountain…
The Israelites have finally made it to Mount Sinai. The Israelites camped out here for several months, so all next week we’re going to camp out here, too.
God has much He wants to teach the Israelites. As we saw in the last post, the nation of Israel is very much like a little child. They are constantly complaining about what God provides for them; they test the Lord and get angry at Moses even to the point of wanting to stone him!
Despite all the miraculous things that God is constantly doing, these people still show an amazing lack of faith and an inability to simply take God at His word. But God has been very patient with them.
At the burning bush, God revealed for the first time His name, YHWH. Through the Exodus out of Egypt, God revealed His power and sovereignty. Now, at Mt. Sinai, God is revealing who He is and renewing the covenant with Israel.
In this covenant, He is very specific about what Israel is to do in keeping this covenant, and He is very specific about how He will bless them as a nation if they keep the covenant…
WHINY, FUSSY, CRYBABIES
In the days following God’s miraculous salvation through the crossing of the Red Sea, the Israelites show what they’re made of. As a nation, they are very childlike… always whining and complaining, not really listening to their leader, and being incredibly selfish and self-centered.
Not very commendable for a nation that is God’s chosen people! In these three stories, we can glean some insights into the nature of people (which includes ourselves) and into what God wanted from Israel (and wants from us)…
THE PATH TO FREEDOM
Israel is free and on its way back to the Promised Land.
But the Lord does not take them on a path directly to the land of Canaan. Instead they are led out of their way along the shoreline of the Red Sea…
THE PASSOVER LAMB
The tenth plague was what put everything over the top. God had shown over and over again that He was real and superior to the Egyptian gods, yet Pharaoh would not be swayed. But after the plague on the firstborn, Pharaoh finally gave in.
The plague on the firstborn is the hardest to swallow. It seems so harsh, even unfair. Every firstborn son in Egypt died. In this plague God was bringing his judgment down on the people of Egypt. They had taken the lives of countless newborn Israelite sons, and now a similar tragedy would strike them.
This plague put the fear of the Lord in all the Egyptians including Pharaoh. It was, quite possibly, the only thing that would get their attention and be the necessary motivation to let the Israelites go.