The book of Exodus opens with Israel in the land of Egypt. Israel greatly increases in number and becomes mighty (Ex. 1:1-9). As the story unfolds, Pharaoh takes Israel captive and enslaves them. God hears Israel, who cries out to Him in their distress, and sends Moses to lead Israel out of captivity (Ex. 3).
Fleeing Egypt, Israel crosses the Red Sea (Ex. 14). Going through the wilderness, they arrive at Mt. Sinai. God meets with Israel at Mt. Sinai and a covenant is formed through the mediator Moses (Ex. 19-24).
Through this covenant, Israel was to follow the instruction of the Lord. If they would keep this covenant, Israel was to be a special treasure to the Lord, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation to share the blessing of God throughout the Earth (ref. Isa. 42:6). Israel agreed to do all that the Lord spoke to them.
Exodus 19:5-8 (NKJV)
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.”
This covenant often referred to as the Mosaic Covenant, becomes central in the lives of Israel and throughout the Old Testament. It sets Israel apart from the other nations and is to direct their worship, relationships, and community as the people of God.
God instructed Israel to follow the terms of the covenant given at Mt. Sinai. In doing so, the assurance of His blessing would be with them. Ignoring the commands of the Lord would result in curses (ref. Deut. 28).
In the New Testament, we learn this covenant was to be a guide that pointed to the coming of Christ.
Galatians 3:21–24 (NKJV)
“Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Today, we each have the opportunity of receiving the blessing of Christ in following His words. Words of life (Jn. 6:68), found in the New Covenant, and formed through Jesus (ref. Lk. 22:20; Heb. 8:7-13; 12:24). As part of the covenant community of Christ, we, like Israel, are called to share the Lord’s blessing throughout the earth.
Matthew 5:14–16 (NKJV)
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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