The book of Exodus concludes in stark contrast to its beginning. Israel has graciously been delivered from oppression and cruel slavery by the blood of the lamb and now lives with the presence of the LORD in their midst.
** Due to technical difficulties this weeks sermon audio is missing some sections ** In Exodus 34, in the wake of Israel's blatant rebellion and adultery against God, we see God renew the covenant. But this does not happen until after he lays the foundational reason for why he will renew: he tells us explicitly who he is and what he is like with his own lips. Furthermore, this display of God's glory points distinctly to the glory that will someday be revealed in his children through the atoning work of Christ.
The Lord agreed to fulfill his promise to Abraham to give his descendants the Promised Land despite the rebellion of the Israelites. However, he delivered the devastating news that his presence would not go with the people as the occupied their new home. Moses interceded on behalf of the people declaring to God that the gift of the Promised Land was of no value apart from his presence with his people. The Lord responded favorably once again demonstrating that he is 'God with us'.
In chapters 25-31 God lays out his plan to dwell with his people in tabernacle. The tabernacle is a holy place in which God's presence will reside with his people. However, Israel grieves God (in chapter 32) by breaking the commandments before they even leave Mount Sinai. Israel turns to worship other gods and now stands to bear the wrath of God. Mercifully, Israel is saved through a mediator who pleads for them before God.
The covenant initiated by God with Israel is confirmed in Exodus 24 through the blood of a sacrifice. At the Lord's Supper, Jesus picks up the language of Exodus 24 and initiates a new and better covenant with his disciples. Rather than the shedding of the blood of oxen, Jesus offers his blood as a lasting and perfect sacrifice for our sins that we may be united to God forever.
We conclude Exodus 20 by examining the remaining six commandments and looking to Jesus as the fulfillment of the law. God's law is holy and good and teaches us how to walk righteously before God. But our best efforts are not enough. Praise be to God for a magnificent Savior.
Israel is gathered into the presence of God at Mount Sinai to receive the law of God. There at Sinai, God initiates his covenant relationship with the nation of Israel and commands them to walk in His ways. Indeed the giving of the law to Israel was a gracious act of God. But how are we to think of the Ten Commandments today? Are they helpful for us on this side of the cross of Christ?
Moses has returned to worship the Lord at Mount Sinai just as God had foretold. And God, being rich in mercy, invites Israel into a covenantal relationship. Israel has become a people of privilege and purpose. God calls Israel to be a 'kingdom of priests'. Likewise, our purpose as the church is to bring glory to God by faithfully proclaiming the good news of the gospel.
In Exodus 18 we learn that transformed lives transform lives. Moses shares the story of the mighty deliverance God has provided to his father-in-law, Jethro. The testimony of Moses and the work of God is the means by which Jethro is brought to saving faith in God.
Within two months of their departure from Egypt the Israelites faced hostile opposition on the journey to the promised land. Through their battle with Amalek God demonstrated that he is the one who gives victory to his people. We too can have confidence that we have victory through Christ over sin, death, and Satan. Just as God led the people of Israel to the promised land so too will he lead us to the new heaven and new earth.