Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 31 January 21:
Exodus 19:4-6, 8 – “‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel…. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
Seeing is not believing. The Israelites saw God work in incredibly miraculous ways to rescue them, and when God miraculously rescued them, they were quick to proclaim their allegiance to God. But in between the miracles and when things got hard, they quickly turned from God, which was revealed in their disobedience to Him. Not only that, as we will see in our future readings, they also turned from God when things were going well. In their comfort they grew complacent, prideful, and arrogant. In their discomfort, they grew fearful and self-absorbed. As Proverbs say, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8, 9)
God called the Israelites to be a “kingdom of priests” to the world, a holy nation of God among the nations of men, but despite God’s love and faithfulness, they continually proved themselves unfaithful, as we will continue to read.
- 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 -- Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (see also Romans 15:4)
We should pay very close attention to how this Old Testament “kingdom of priests” responded to God’s grace as the New Testament says of us, “You yourselves [are] to be a holy priesthood…. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:5, 9) We are saved by grace, but our response to grace must be loving, faithful obedience, empowered by the Holy Spirit; we are without excuse if we continue in sin. We are called to be a “holy” nation. Let no one deceive on this point.
- Hebrews 3:15-19 — As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 — For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
- Hebrews 12:18-25 — For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 Feb 21: Be thankful you have been saved by grace; now, pursue love, holiness, purity, and obedience.