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Jan 17, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 17

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Egypt and Exodus

You freed your people from slavery in Egypt so they could worship you: Free me from sin so I can serve and worship.

Reflection

Congratulations – you’ve reached the half-way point of this period!

If the question in Exodus 1-18 was “Who will you serve?” then the question starting in chapter 19 might be “How will you serve?”  Israel spends a year at the base of Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt.  During that time they meet God, they hear His voice, and they become his people.

You will read about the Ten Commandments in chapter 20. They are not commands that bind, as Pharaoh’s did.  They are commands that liberate.  They tell Israel how to live as redeemed people, to keep from falling back into bondage.

Today’s Reading

Exodus 17-20

Today’s Question

What kind of nation does God say Israel will be, if they obey him and keep his covenant? (19:1-6).

Join the discussion below!

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  • Israel was selected by God as His people, provided they obey His commands and keep His covenant. Other nations idolized many false gods, the Israelites were unique in that they were revealed that there is only one God – YHWH. The Egyptians were also shown God’s miracles, however they did not believe and went back to their old ways and beliefs. The Israelites were saved from slavery and although their belief in God wavered in times of strife, they eventually come back to God. The Israelites will receive many blessings if they follow and obey God.

  • The LORD reminds the Israelites that He will not abandon them no matter what is their danger. By helping them to cross the red sea He has carried them like an eagle carries the young ones on its wings. The LORD wants them to keep his covenant and believe in him. To be called his people the Israelites must obey the LORD.

  • Wow!! How sweet and lovely to receive these word from my most beloved one, my dearest Lord God. As if you want to rest now and be with Him forever. Your beloved said to you, “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth
    is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’

    Let us then sing and worship, please click below:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWv-8n7qY-k

  • God wants the Israelites to be a priestly people – different from their earlier days in Egyptian bondage and eventually become a Holy nation for Him, set apart from the world of idolatry – believing and trusting in Him alone.

  • My prayer: My God make America a Kingdom of
    Priests a Holy Nation.
    So, one day, when I was a student at college, I approached a man who had set up a table and handing out tracts. When he gave me one of the tracts, it
    showed a very detailed graph of the “Church Age” and the “Millennium” and Israel etc. After a short conversation, I told him that my church always prays for America to be a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation. It was almost like I had slapped him. He said, “What? That is not a good prayer! Israel is specifically called to be a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation!!. Cheers!!!

    • God told them that if they keep his commandments he will not leave them and he will provide for them.

    • Romans 11: 17 talks about we (a wild grapevine)being grafted into the true vine (Abraham’s vine)…so we, too, can become a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation if we but follow Him.

      • Thanks, Beverly & Claudette for your added explanations. Further to that, understanding that not all people are
        children of God and that becoming a child of God only happens when you
        are adopted by God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26) is important for understanding how and why God deals with people differently. If we are born again (John 1:12, 3:1-8), we have been adopted into the family of God, redeemed from the curse of sin and are “joint-heirs with Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:17; also Galatians 4:7).

        • I didn’t know I did anything about a count…and certainly welcomed the information you provided…you are so right….If I did, tell me how to correct it, okay?

          • Don’t worry I already requested the management to correct my error. Notice the arrow up and arrow down, you have 1 each below your posting, that’s both me, inadvertently click arrow down and this arrow down is requested to be removed by management.

    • Much as I love my country I cannot see America as a Kingdom of Priests. I do pray that it become a Holy Nation. I pray that it might reach the Status of “First Daughter” as France did in the Middle Ages. I sadly fear our Nation is no longer even a World Power.
      The Kingdom of Priests is the Universal Church. It does not have national boundaries

      • I believe so many of us believe as you do Barbara but this is where hope comes in. This is where we cannot sit by and be passive comes in. For the first time in my life I will talk about God publicly and not mind if I offend someone or if they appear to roll their eyes at me. I have always believed that God is our Savior but lacked the courage to share my beliefs outwardly. I believe we are called to action and if we sit idly by and wait for someone else to take action this may never happen. Just like Moses who said at the burning bush, “I am Here!” if we want change to happen in this country we need to stand tall and say, “I am Here” and be willing to stand in our Truth even when what we have to say is not what the status quo says. As we have learned in the Ten Commandments, wrong is ALWAYS wrong! I have said this before and I believe we can each be a catalyst for change. We must take action, however, and inaction, in my opinion, is action for those on the opposing side! Have a blessed and hopeful day, Barbara!

        • I agree Michelle. Inaction is the sin of sloth. But when we take action is must always be for God. It sometimes bothers me when I hear my Evangical friends talking about the Constitution as if it were the Word of God and The United States as the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is the Christian Church the Kingdom of Priests is the Catholic Church. As for the United States I believe we have reached a tipping point and may have to suffer as Mexico suffered in the last Russia, the Eastern European Countries and Mexico suffered in the last century.

  • God reminds the Israelites of how the Egyptians treated them and that is not how He wants them to be. Rather a holy nation a Kingdom of priests. God calls all of us to holiness.

  • The Hebrew’s were to become a nation onto God; a priestly nation. What does a priestly nation mean? It is the fundamental set up of a body that ensures that links between the people and God are always connected. Each member of said society is obliged to act according to God’s laws and to ensure that the message of God’s love for His people is passed on to others (i.e. their family, friends and children). The Biblical writer had a beautiful verse that says that God carried the people out of bondage on eagle’s wings. In other words, God lifted the Hebrew’s out of their current way of life and transported them to another way of life – one that follows God in all facets of life.

    • The challenge I find today is surrounding ourselves with people who are like the Hebrews you have just described; following God in all facets of life. I know for me this becomes difficult as there are so many different social variables in my life: work friends, church friends, family, neighbors, etc. I seek to surround myself with others that want to live their lives following God in all facets but I sometimes fear the only way to truly achieve this is to lock myself in my house. We need friends, however, and though I openly speak of God’s presence in my life I don’t feel able to speak up when others have offended God. (Even though it makes me cringe, I could never correct someone who flippantly takes the Lord’s name in vain.) These are my friends. What spoke to me in these chapters was the battle with Amalek. Moses needed to keep his arms and the staff of God held above his head to ensure Hebrew victory. When Moses grew weary they brought a rock for him to rest upon and then Aaron and Hur supported his hands. How beautiful was that? Aaron and Hur were there to support Moses when he was weak. Who do we have to support us when we are weak? As Jethro said to Moses as they discussed the appointment of minor judges, “You cannot do this alone.” Nor can we do this alone if we hope to have God’s mercy for the 1000 generations He promises if we keep His Commandments. I guess my hope is that when I am weak, I have Aaron and Hur type people on my flanks to ensure I am following God in all facets of life.

      • There is so much in what you wrote that we could spend a lifetime discussing. You make fantastic insights. Yes, we do want to surround ourselves with others that follow God. However, I don’t think that is the path Christ brought us to walk. Absolutely, we always want to find a home that is safe and surrounded by those that follow God but many times, we are asked to walk among those that don’t have God in their lives. It is through our actions that God works with in bringing others into His fold.

        “Who do we have to support us when we are weak?” The first thing I thought about when I read this was the Church. I personally found my own comforts in the struggles I’ve had in life through interactions within the Church – specifically with members of the parish I attend. Amazing friendships have their genesis in the Church. Every Sunday, I go feeling weak and needing of Jesus and I walk out strong enough to take on the world with love and humility.

        I pray for you and for all that whenever we are weak, we have the foresight to reach out to God so that He may surround us with good people to hold us up. In Christ’s Holy Name….Amen.

        • After reading your response I had a shame on me moment and realized much of what I wrote was about me! I am continually aiming to remove my ego and yet here I am worried about myself. Instead, I need to remember when I am feeling alone and in less than optimal situations that I am not alone. Jesus is with me, helping to guide me and perhaps even providing an opportunity to be a positive light for someone else in need of the Truth in their life. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Beautifully written Michelle! I know exactly how you feel. I find however that people of strong faith do not need good example as much as those who are lost. At times it is difficult to know when to interject. I try to every now and then let people know what I am up to, in the hopes that opening the Bible might light a spark in their lives and make a difference in their lives. I have shared with people this incredible journey we are on with the 90 Day Challenge. I find it a lot easier having the computer as a resource to look up questions I may have, such as biblical maps, etc. People are very intimidated with reading the Bible, it’s too long… So just start by reading one book and let me know what you think is what I tell them.

        I appreciate how Jethro immediately realized Moses had the very best intentions but should not be doing it all alone. Many leaders have difficulty delegating. But once they master the art, a lot more “work” may be done. Kudos to Moses for being smart enough to heed Jethro’s advice.

        I have faith that when we have times of trouble, if we open our eyes and hearts, we will realize someone like Aaron and Hur are our there somewhere to help us.

        • I have found myself openly talking about this 90 day Bible study, as well, Luz. I love it. Like you, I have faith that when I need help those Aaron and Hur types are there to help lift me up. I also hope that when I am near those that need help I have the courage to be an Aaron and Hur for them. Thank you for your lovely response.

  • Having led the Israelites out of slavery, God promises that if they follow Him and obey Him, they will be His precious possession among His people, will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The people were still stumbling as they tried to follow God, without clear guidance and only just starting to work together. God offers his promise before giving the commandments, by doing so He is giving out the most important information first, namely that they are special to Him. The rules and guidance come second, which is how it was for me when I returned to God. It was as if I ,was about to turn round and look for God, when He said “Here I am”. As with the Israelites, God gave me a bespoke journey of faith, however, I am grateful that He was (and is) a lot gentler, leading me slowly and steadily.

  • All God is asking of the Israelites is to be a faithful people, and he asks the same of us today. My prayer… Dear Father God please increase my faith.

  • In Chapter 19 God renews and expands His covenant with the Jewish people. They enter into the covenant. In chapter 20 God gives the Jewish Nation a perfect Constitution. In Deutronomy God gives a code of laws for the Jewish Nation until the completion of the covenent

  • Becoming a kingdom of priests means that God has consecrated Israel for His service. The Israelistes were chosen, in the covenant with Abraham, to bring a blessing to all nations. God chose them to become holy as he is holy, perfect as he is perfect. He gave them the law, the ten commandments, to help them to know right from wrong. In the New Covenant, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit writes the law on our hearts. As we mature in our faith, no longer do we need the written law to be our ultimate command. For example, spiritually mature people no longer need to be told not to kill, they have no desire to kill. The law is written in their hearts. The more spiritually mature we become the more our desires to do God’s will become of way of being in the world. The saints have many lessons to teach us about spiritually maturity!

  • I’m a day late in my bible study so my comment here is behind all the good dialogue that happened yesterday. One thing I noticed in these chapters was how Jethro gave Moses a formula for helping to rule God’s people. He said to pick able men who fear God, whom you can trust and will never take a bribe. Then set them up as rulers of thousands, hundreds, and fifties, Like a president, governor, mayor, etc. A hierarchy of political rulers. Jethro’s requirements for good politicians would make for a HOLY NATION indeed!

    • Absolutely, agree! I also thought it so telling on Moses’ part that he listened to the wisdom of Jethro and followed his advice even though he easily could have said, “I am God’s chosen one, what do you know Jethro?” Instead, he bowed to his father-in-law, listened attentively, and then took his sound and very wise advice. What a true testament to Moses’ humble personality. It is so easy to see why God chose him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt!

  • What a blessing for Moses when God spoke words the people needed to hear. For them to learn exactly what God’s intention was, had to have been such an enlightenment. I’m sure they reflected on their experiences of the parting of the Red Sea in fear of their enemy, the spring of water from a rock to satisfy their thirst, and manna and meat in the desert when they were starving. All that had to have more meaning for them when God just asked them to hear his voice and keep his covenant, and to use God’s words to speak to the children of Israel. To understand that all the earth is God’s and the people in it are his possession, it is with this they had to understand they will be part of God’s Holy Nation. Reading this chapter was a reminder to me, that I also have the responsibility to hear God’s voice to be a part of the Holy Nation God has intended for us from the very beginning.

  • Other gods might “choose” nations to fulfill a special destiny or role in the world; but only Israel’s God is bound to a people by covenant. God chose Israel as His people to ultimately provide a means for all nations to re-enter God’s family. Here at Sinai, God is making His family a nation – but not a nation like the other nations. Israel is to be “a holy nation,” set apart from other nations, an example of holiness and righteous living, an instrument by which God extends His salvation to all the nations.

    As we have seen, His covenant at Sinai is intended to fulfill His promise that through Abraham’s descendants, He will bless all the nations of the world. So Israel is being consecrated here at Sinai as a “light to the nations,” leading them in the ways of holiness. BUT God’s covenant is conditional; To experience its blessings, Israel must keep His covenant, obey its terms (which are spelled out in Exodus 20-23).

    And there is a big “if” in all of what God is saying here at Sinai: “IF you hearken to My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My special possession…a kingdom of priests ” (Exodus 19:5). The phrase “a kingdom” presupposes a king, who would be Yahweh.

  • And God said to Moses, “Now, if you obey me completely and keep my
    covenant, you will be my treasured possession among all peoples, though all the earth is mine. You will be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites.” Exodus 19: 5-6

    With the complaining that the chosen people displayed since their release from Egyptian slavery, I often wonder if God was dropping huge hints through Moses, His liaison. The messages from God demonstrates how incredibly patient God is, but He qualifies His patience with “Now, if you obey me completely, and keep my covenant…”
    Although the chosen people were in the desert for quite a while, this part of the OT is a page turner! I look upon the patience of God as something we as humans can never achieve. I would have given up on them before the first year had ended after their exit from Egypt!

    • Glad to see you didn’t miss the big “if” in all of what God is saying here at Sinai: “If you hearken to My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My special possession…a kingdom of priests ” (see Exodus 19:5).

      God’s covenant is conditional.

    • I am in the midst of a small group Bible Study at church and one of the new things I’ve learned is that “obey’ can also mean – to listen attentively which sheds a little different light on it all. IF we would listen attentively to God our hearts would be in a much better place for receiving God’s instructions. Changes it from the idea of blind obedience to sharing a conversation with a loving Father.

      • This adds another dimension to the dynamic of our relationship with God. It’s two sides of the same coin… it takes two to have a conversation… you summed it up beautifully, Marjorie!

        And it’s just like “to fear” means “to revere”… respectfully loving our Father, who loves each one of us.

      • Marjorie, Your words are so true. I know if I would open my heart more times than naught to God, I would be in a much better place. Marianne is right. You summed it up beautifully!

  • I think God called the Israelites to be a holy nation and a holy people, meaning (Whole) in worshiping God, healthy in mind, body, and emotion. To understand the spiritual communion they share with God, within the Covenant promises made to his people. But I agree that obedience to the LORD is necessary by following the Commandments, turning away from the temptations like idolatry etc…and serve as a “a light to all nations”.

  • God promised that Israel will “be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation”. He promised Israel that they will be His treasured possession. It’s interesting to note that the Lord descended upon the mountain on the THIRD DAY and gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Just as the Lord appeared to Moses on the third day, Jesus conquered death and rose on the third day, to liberate mankind once and for all. The Ten Commandments are not restrictive laws of bondage, but rather, will liberate the people. Because adhering to these commandments would bring peace to the nation.

    There is a timelessness to these words. It spans the millennia as well as the continents. For we are all beloved by God, treasured and dear to His heart. God promises us that “in every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you”. (Exodus 20:24)

    • I like your point that the commandments are not restrictive. More often than not people see rules as restrictive or punitive (and more often than not they are). Here the difference is these “rules” will bring a freedom and a liberation. Nice statements you’ve made.

    • I believe the “Third Day” in that age was more of an expression comparable to todays “in a few minutes”, which doesn’t give an exact time but close. This would explain the resurrection from Friday to Sunday not technically being the “third day”.

      • With the Hebrew people numbers had special meaning. “3” signifies Divine completeness and perfection of God. “10” means Testimony relating to law and responsibility. “12” is organizational perfection. There is something for every number. (W.E. Filmer, “God Counts”)

    • I too noted the “third day” motif. I noted it a little further back. I noted that the plagues lasted for three days. There is also a reocurring water motif. I see the water motif ending with the Gospel of John in the miracle at Cana and the Samaritan woman

  • Now, if you obey me completely and keep my covenant,* you will be my treasured possession among all peoples,c though all the earth is mine. 6You will be to me a kingdom of priests,* a holy nation.d That is what you must tell the Israelites.
    I was particularly drawn the the phrase ” all the earth is Mine” To me that is saying it is the reason for Israel to bring all nations to God. For that purpose they are a “kingdom of priests” That covenant was fulfilled in Jesus who established His Church. Christianity is the new “Kingdom of Priests” sadly it is a Divided Kingdom. If Christianity is the new “holy nation” Then we are all called to be priests. That means that we must all spread the Gospel by our lives. We must pray unceasingly for the unification of this divided Kingdom.

  • He tells the people that if they keep His covenant you shall be my procession among all peoples, and be a kingdom of priests and a Holy Nation. We Christians are a fulfillment of that-A Holy People, set apart, a priestly people because the Lord lives and reigns in us.

  • Through Moses, God tells the Israelites they shall be to Him a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. As a “Holy” land they commit to flowing the commandments such as presented to them by Moses.

    In these sections. I see Moses in a similar position as our Pope. And, the Israelite men whom are trustworthy as those in the priesthood. This section seems as the beginning of Christianity beliefs God continues asking all of us to follow as his believers and in doing so to follow His commandments.

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