Bookends: Bigger patterns – a foreshadowing of things to come
There is an old training axiom: Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. You start and end with your most important points.
If we take a step back and take a mountaintop view of our study of this week and last, this is exactly the pattern that is followed.
Salvation by God: God brought His people out of slavery into community with Him
Covenant: God starts with His covenant – Treasured Possession, Kingdom of Priests, Holy Nation
Relationship with God: He then goes on to the law, the 10 commandments, starting with the most important, the first 4 laws defining our relationship with God
Social Relationships: He goes on to laws about our interactions with others in the next 3 commandments
Property Relationships: He continues to laws about our interactions with stuff (property/possessions) in the last 3 commandments
Social Relationships: Ex 21:1-32 pick up on the laws about our interactions with others
Property Relationships: Ex 21:33-22:31 pick up on the laws about our interaction with property, especially the property of others
Social Relationships: Ex 23:1-9 back to how we treat each other, the poor, foreigners
Relationship with God: Ex 23: 10-19 Are about special days set aside for our interaction with God
Salvation: Exodus 23: 20-33 God will bring His people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land with Him
Covenant: Ex 24 God ends with His covenant.
There are some really interesting patterns in this.
1. Salvation by God and His covenant go hand in hand. This is in the same way that the people of Israel were required to purify themselves for 2 full days at the foot of the mountain before approaching God on the third day. God provides his promise of salvation first, because without it we could not be a party to a covenant with Him. We have nothing, aside from His grace, to bring to the agreement.
2. God has placed our relationship with him inside the binding of His covenant. God is bigger than anything and everything, but He chooses to lower Himself into a relationship with us.
3. Our interaction with property is important, but it is enclosed within our relationship with each other. The emphasis on establishing a community is at the heart of this entire pattern, both figuratively and literally. That makes sense in the wording of the covenant. How could they or we be a Kingdom of Priests or a Holy Nation if we are not a Kingdom or a Nation. God placed the community of believers, what we call the church, at the very center of the Mosaic covenant.
4. I may be stretching it with this one, but I thought it was interesting. If you follow the pattern, in the center verse of the center “Social Relationships” section, there is one more item book-ended inside verses 12-18. 12 & 18 are about striking a fatal blow to someone. Inside that 15 & 18 are about attacking and cursing parents and in the center is vs. 16: Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession. As we study the book of Revelation next year, I think it will be interesting to remember this verse in the center of the Mosaic covenant and see how God implements it onto our kidnapper, the one who tempted and lead us into sin and rebellion against our Holy Father. Because, while the fall of man was a fatal blow to mankind, it is not outside of God’s ability to yield justice.
Finally, the people of God accept the covenant and commit to obedience and then they are covered in the blood of His sacrifice. In the same way, God has offered the New Covenant of Salvation through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made. After we accept it and commit our lives to it in words and by accepting Him, then we are covered by the blood. But, contrary to the external covering of the blood sacrifice at this mountain, Jesus’ told us to drink the blood of His sacrifice. It is not simply an external covering but and indwelling.
Jesus is in us, but He is also our mediator, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, petitioning Him on our behalf. And our advocate Jesus, through whom we were given a counselor in the Holy Spirit, has been given the authority to also be our Judge.
Jesus – I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me
Drink from it, all of you. This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Without accepting the price that Jesus paid as our own, then we are responsible for paying restitution for our own sins, something we are not capable of doing. If there was another way, would God have sent His only Son to die?
1. Invited by God with Moses and 70 elders to go up, 10. see God, 11. eat and drink (where did the food come from? Heavenly buffet?)
the cloud, what looked like fire, God’s voice
The power and might, but also the voice of God.