"Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them."
As the sons of Israel exited Egypt, led by the Lord, He first brought deliverance, then gave them His word, the covenant. He now asked for contributions for the building of a sanctuary, so He would be able to dwell in their midst. You see for all time, the Lord sought to be among His people. So true it is today, that as we receive His message of salvation, the forgiveness of sin in Christ Jesus and make our hearts open for His sanctuary, He comes in and dwells with us. As simple as it sounds, the Lord for all time desired fellowship and communion with His people. For you and I, the relationship is ongoing, for others, it's His heart's desire that they would open their hearts to Him. Continue to let your light shine, pray for those outside of the fellowship of believers, that they might open their hearts to Him.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient."
As the children of Israel drew near to ratify the covenant of the Lord, they were more than willing to pledge their intentions to obey God's word. Yet the reality that in of themselves, their good intent and heart's desire to live right in the flesh before the Lord was easier said than done. Some would be quick to realize that without God's help and faith in Him, the task was impossible. Much as we today call upon the name of Jesus, it's always been faith in the Lord and His love and grace and mercy, to make the way for us.
"I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you."
Taking a look at even at the simplest of maps, we see that the land mass promised to the sons of Israel was sizeable. For their love and worship, with obedience, much were the promises of God. Since the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, much dissension deals with the right to the land, and Israels right to live on the land. Surrounding nations and people groups, with many wanting peace, while others want to deny the Jews right to live. Within the hearts of the sons of disobedience, works an ominous view that the Jews have no right to live. Land and right to the land becomes a reason for them to pursue the eventual annihilation of an entire race of people. This has been attempted before, but the Lord continues to shelter His people. Look up people, see the signs of the times, know that our Redeemer draws near.
"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, which being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed."
As we've gone through a portion of the book of Exodus that contained the ordinances for the children of Israel, we see the tedious list of laws along with the Ten Commandants, that were brought to govern the daily lives of the people. This custody guarding us or keeping us safe, really from ourselves, were meant to bring us to the realization that the task was really impossible in of ourselves.
"Therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24
"Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently."
The Lord has a way, for believer and nonbeliever alike, to shake things up. For we, the children of God, it may a call, a reminder for us to keep our eyes on Him. So often, we look away, looking at a situation. It may be a relationship, a work situation, health or financial related or the uncertainty of the future. Whatever it may be, the Lord would have us with our focus on Him. Much of the time we have no control over any of the previously mentioned, and this is where our faith is tested. Uncomfortable as it is, it's much better than an almost hopeless resolve that this is how it is, as for the one without the expectation of good things to come in Christ. In 1 Peter 5:7, we find the assurance "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
"So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said."
Jethro, the priest of Midian, spoke into Moses' heart, as if the oracle of God. Moses received the counsel, took heed the words spoken, and put into motion God's wisdom. From a family of seventy, to a people now numbering in the millions, careful follow through of the Lord's word was key to survival in the world. A key example for us is this of Moses, hearing and heeding God's word and His will for our lives. Listen up carefully child of God, and follow through with His words spoken to us. "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11
"Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israels sake, all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how the Lord had delivered them."
With Pharaoh and his troops decimated in the midst of the sea, we saw in the following passages Moses having to deal with much grumbling and quarrel along with contention from the sons of Israel. It came even to a point of Moses feeling threatened by talks of stoning him by the people. Yet as he spoke to Jethro, not a word is mentioned of the unhappy people. Moses said yes, we had much hardship along the way, but the Lord has been faithful, and brought us each and every step of the way. Our own lives can be filled with complaint and spewing misery, or we can instead choose to recount to others of His faithfulness even in hardship. As Jethro rejoiced with Moses' testimony, seed fell on good ground that spoke of God's faithful dealings, he would come eventually to a place of worshiping the true and living God. Our lives should reflect much the same of Moses heart to those around us.
"Then they set out from Elim and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt."
Soon after leaving the oasis of Elim, their parched and weary bodies refreshed by the cooling springs of water, appetites satisfied by the luscious dates provided by the palms, discord and complaint would soon ring out as hunger again gnawed at their bellies. The uncertainty of their food supply now on their minds, little did they know God already had a plan. Their questioning, like ours today, whether it be for food or shelter, vaccine or not, one two or three doses or more, one mask or three, what if we are exposed, what about this or that? It all comes down to, God, do we live in fear, mistrust, suspicion, accusation or do we go forward with faith and Your wisdom. For those wandering in the wilderness, their disbelief proved their undoing. For us, let's look toward Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
"Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters."
The sons of Israel had begun their venture of faith with a series of trials that tested their faith, and then brought protection and the provision of the Lord. Time and time again the Lord would show Himself faithful towards His people, yet more often than not, they ended up picking at each other in complaint, really their grumblings were towards God. Trust and faith in Him are often an easier said than done type of happening in people's hearts, yet as we see here in this passage, deliverance from the bitter waters of Mara was right down the road. Too often we fail to see the difficulties through to the end, where God already has a plan of relief. Whatever you are going through today, continue to move forward in faith, looking for the springs of living water we have in Christ Jesus.
"In Thy lovingkindness Thou has led the people whom Thou has redeemed; in Thy strength Thou has guided them to Thy holy habitation."
The lovingkindness of the Lord has been about His people as He rescued them and delivered them from the slavery of the world. Lovingkindness of course reminds us of two certain things, that He is, by His very nature a God of love, but not only that, He is a God who is kind. Attached to the definition of this word lovingkindness is also the fact of His grace and mercy towards His people. Not only a God of love, but His attributes hallmarked by kindness and grace and mercy. The Lord, in all of His gracious attributes, continues to move before us, on our behalf, leading us the way towards the upward call of Christ Jesus.
"He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."
The cry from the garden tomb that fateful morning was "He has risen" still rings aloud today. Believers worldwide have proclaimed this message since the dawn of that morn. He has risen, becomes a mantra proclaimed by His children, no longer slaves to the fear of death, but the resurrection power that raised Christ, now dwelling in His people. We all cling tenaciously to life, for He has placed within us the will to live, but now instilled within our hearts is the undeniable truth that Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 2:27), and knowing that He who raised Jesus will raise us also with Jesus (2 Cor 4:14). Death no longer the victor, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corin 16:55,57).
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
Just a few years earlier was the joyous sounds of the angelic choir as they serenaded the shepherds with the announcement of the birth of Christ, and truths of God. Now, just a few years later, this was turned to the somber crack of the whip, and the hammering of spikes as the crowds shouted out "crucify Him." His life and times culminated now with the week of passion, where the Saviour would face the brutality, and lay His life down for all mankind, and be resurrected on the third day. Sobering is the thought that God would come, laying aside all the vestiges of His Godhood, to be born of a virgin, and willingly lay His life down for us.
But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians which you have seen today, you will never see them again forever."
Like most people today, the children of Israel had many fears, among which were their dreaded task masters. For so long, held captive, they were now urged to focus upon the Lord and trust that He was moving them from captivity to freedom. We today, held by many things that bring fear, many overloaded, burdened down by ongoing circumstances, most out of our control, need to stand by and see the saving grace of our Lord, working on our behalf.