Written by Courtney McHill, United Methodist Pastor
As we head into summer, we will be looking at three different books of the bible this summer. We will delve into each book for a month and see what we can find. Over the course of the next four weeks, we will be exploring one specific part of Exodus. We spent just a little time in Exodus last fall but now we want to delve further into the Ten Commandments specifically. This will allow us to really look at the commandments that God has set before the people of Israel and try to relate back to our own lives today. Have you ever really looked into those Ten Commandments that came down the mountain with Moses?
This segment of Exodus is key to the covenant and relationship between God and the Israelites and these first verses really set up the expectation for the rest of the verses. As a refresher, the people are miraculously delivered from slavery (chapters 1-15). They make their way through months of wilderness, with much complaining and some hope (chapters 16-18). Now they have arrived at Mount Sinai and have camped at the base of it. This would date Exodus at around 1280 BCE. The people won’t leave Sinai until the book of Numbers.
Moses gets called up the mountain by God. Moses is the only one to encounter God throughout these travels. He goes up to the mountain a couple of times and finally God has some things to say to the people. The very first thing to say is that God is the Lord our God. God addresses Moses and the Israelites as though there is already an established relationship, “Thus you shall say…”
This is our God. The God who brought the people out of slavery. This is our God. The God who gives a covenant of us belonging to God and God belonging to us. This is our God. The God who created the earth and everything in it.
In this culture, this is breaking news. We are kind of use to this now but for Moses and the Israelites this is unheard of. We have a God? We have a God who makes a covenant with us? This is different from the cultures around the Israelites. They are seeing multiple Gods responsible for multiple creations and they are not making covenants. But this God is. Our God. Our God cares for us and brings us out of slavery. Our God treats us as treasured people and will lead us to new life. Sometimes we forget this very basic piece of what it means to follow God. We belong to God and God belongs to us. We are part of a covenant with God. We are treasured and cared for people. We sometimes forget about our God. Today may we remember that God is ours and we are God’s.
Quotes of the Week “It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.” ― C.S. Lewis
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” ― Meister Eckhart
Exodus 19:1-6, 20:1-2 (NRSV)On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You 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 obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”
Then God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
Questions for the Week
Who is God to you?
Where have you seen God around you lately?
How do you feel like a treasured possession of God?