If you’ve been with us for a while, you may know that I was looking at the Book of Exodus and the lessons which we learned from the event of the Jews coming out of Egypt. And, in Corinthians Paul tells us that these things which happened are examples to us who have come to faith in Jesus the Messiah.
As we look at the pattern of events which took place with the Exodus, we can see that there are many things which apply to us, which connect to the New Covenant and to Yeshua Jesus as the Messiah.
Last time I spoke on this I was looking at the Ten Commandments. I want to move on now to Exodus chapter 24. So, if you have your Bibles we’re going to read Exodus chapter 24.
Let’s just have a word of prayer as we come to the Word of God. Lord, we would like to you thank you for your Word; we thank you that it is truth and pray that you bless the reading and the preaching of your Word and guide us into all truth. We pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ Yeshua Jesus the Messiah, amen.
This chapter is actually pivotal in our understanding of the Hebrew scriptures of the Tanakh, the Old Testament. It shows how God sealed the covenant with Israel through the Torah (the Law) and how this was going to be the means by which He would communicate and relate to His people in the time between Moses and the Messiah.
When the Messiah Yeshua would come in, He would bring in the New Covenant but, up until this time, God would communicate through the Covenant with Moses.
We see that this is a covenant sealed with blood, a covenant which God makes which is of great significance in our understanding of the Hebrew scriptures and indeed, of the whole of the Bible.
There are a number of significant parallels between what happens here and what happens in the giving of the New Covenant, particularly in the day of Pentecost.
Interestingly, these two events (Old and New Covenants) took place at the same time in the Hebrew calendar, on the day of Pentecost, the feast which the Jewish people hold called Shavuot which is the equivalent of Pentecost.
Now I want to make a few points on this subject if I can get through them all.
As part of our study into Exodus 24, we’ve looked at:
Let’s move on to the next point.
Moses reads the words of the Lord to the people and they say all that what the Lord has said we will do and be obedient.
The people are asked to affirm the word of God. Moses reads the Law to them, he then tells them to affirm it, to agree to it if you like.
They say all that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient. Now, let me ask you a question: Did they mean it or not? What do you think? They meant it, yes? They didn’t mean it, no? You don’t know.
Did they mean it or did they not mean it? Well, we do know that in 40 days’ time, after Moses had been away with the Lord and not returned, you read what happened in Exodus chapter 32.
Exodus chapter 32 says:
Pretty heavy sin wouldn’t you say? God said ‘you don’t make any God Gods before me, you don’t make any more graven images.‘
Here they were breaking at least 2 of the Ten Commandments. So, did they mean it or not?
And we see that not only the people but Aaron who was basically Moses’ number two, was involved in this as well.
I think they did mean it let’s get back to all the Lord has said we would do and be obedient at that point they meant it but actually this incident reveals the central problem of the Torah and the Law and the human heart.
Basically, we are made in the image of God. I don’t say we have a spark of God within us but we are made in God’s image so there is a part of us which is made to relate to God.
Some people have this sort of universalist idea that there’s a bit of God in every person which is actually not true and we’re not all divine, but we do have something in us, call it ‘conscience’ to determine between good and evil. We have something in us which is God-made and God-filled.
Calvinists tell us in their tulip formula which is their basic statement of faith, that the human condition is one of ‘total depravity’.
I’m not sure that that is true. In fact, I don’t think it is. There are people who are totally depraved but most people have a mixture of good and evil within them and you can meet some non-Christians who do a lot of good with their lives, some of whom might be nicer people than some Christians, and the fact is that there is a tendency to evil but there’s also a tendency to good within human beings.
We are made in the image of God with a spirit part of us which is made to relate to God. We also have a sinful part of us which is under the dominance of the god of this world and the reason why we need to be born again is to be set free from that bad influence, from Satan, from the flesh.
At this point, I believe the Israelites really meant it when they said all that the Lord has said we would do and be obedient. At this point, they were in a ‘high state of faith’. They had seen God come down on the mountain, they’d heard the Words of God, they’d heard the Commandments and I guess that most people, if they read the Ten Commandments (which perhaps we should have done at the beginning of this talk) would recognize that they are good.
If people obey the Ten Commandments, if they don’t murder, they don’t commit adultery, they don’t steal, they don’t bear false witness, they don’t lie, they don’t covet their neighbour’s possessions, if people did that individually and if society was run along those lines, it would be much better than it is now, wouldn’t it?
If the whole world was run according to God’s Commandments, we wouldn’t need a police force, you wouldn’t need prisons, you wouldn’t need many of the things which are spoiling our society.
God’s commandments are good and Israel, here, recognize this. They said all that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient.
I believe that, at this point, they meant it. But the situation reveals the human problem which is that the Commandments of God are good but the human heart has a tendency to sin. The problem is in our ability to keep our commitments to God and the battle between the flesh and the spirit, between the old man which is under the power of Satan ultimately, and the new man which is under the power of God through Jesus.
Now if they wanted it, if they wanted to keep the Commandments, why did they fail within 40 days? That is the whole history, in effect, of the rest of the Old Testament. It really is about Israel’s failure to keep God’s commandments and their need for a redeemer, for a Messiah to save them.
Of course, what happened 40 days later, going from a point of great faith, of seeing all these phenomena taking place and seeing the glory of God coming down on the mountain, they now find themselves without their leader, alone in the wilderness, afraid of what’s going to happen and doubts and fears come in. And as the doubts and fears come in, the Devil comes in. He’s just waiting to take them away from God.
That’s, pretty much, our condition as well, isn’t it? You’ve been there, you had doubts and fears coming in and then you begin to doubt God, and you begin to turn away from God. And the Devil is always waiting there to bring in some scheme of his own which will take you further away from God and to cause you to really get into trouble with God.
That’s what happens here: the doubts come in and he corrupts them and they listen to Satan’s lies not to God’s truth. It’s the human problem. It’s exactly what the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans chapter 7. And let’s look at just what Paul says in Romans 7 which really sums up the human dilemma in relation to the Torah to the Commandments of God.
Has anybody been there with Paul? You want to do good but you don’t the good that you want to do you. Do you agree that God’s is good but you find yourself doing the opposite?
In fact, when you look through the whole history of the Old Testament it bears witness to the truth of this. On the one hand, you have the recognition of the goodness of God and His Law, on the other hand, the fact of sin and evil which is present all the time and which keeps bringing people away from God’s Law and making them break His Commandments.
It all points us to the need of a Saviour, of a Mediator to enable us to keep us from the power of sin and death. The whole of the Hebrew scriptures is looking forward to the coming of the Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, who is the One who paid the price for the sin of the world took upon Himself our sin that we might be redeemed and come to God through faith in Him.
None of us can point the finger at Israel and say that ‘what terrible people‘ they were for not keeping God’s Commandments because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There’s none righteous, no, not one. That’s why we all need a mediator.