Then, we read in ch 20:1, “And God spoke all these words.” So, while Moses was up at the mountain peak, the Lord spoke audibly to him so that his people could hear. And what the Lord said that great day was none other than what we call the Ten Commandments. As they enter into covenant, God presents covenant stipulations that they must follow as his people. This morning, we will consider the first of these.
Exodus 19 is something of a Preparation for Worship email to Israel. Remember, according to 3:12, Israel is to worship Yahweh at Mt Sinai. God is preparing his people to worship him. That worship will involve the declaration of God’s Word. In the thick cloud, God prepares his people to believe him and his messenger, Moses. In so doing, Israel learns three crucial lessons about approaching God’s presence to receive God’s Word.
Exodus 19–24 is one of the most important passages of the Old Testament and entire scriptures. The covenant God makes with Israel in these chapters becomes the framework through which the great majority of the Old Testament is to be understood.
Our passage is really about God. He is a God of manifold grace, and that grace is seen in the covenant of Sinai. The text makes clear that what happens at Sinai represents his glorious desire for his chosen people. When we pause to look at how God is treating his people in Exod 19, we ought to be ready to proclaim the excellencies of this God who graciously cuts covenants with mankind.
As Baptists, we are committed to New Testament authority because it is Christ’s will that his church be built upon the apostles’ teaching. This authority touches on the question of who has authority to govern local church. This morning, we will see that the New Testament clearly places the government of a local church into the hands of the members themselves.
Our text this morning is the story of Israel’s first conflict after defeating Egypt. This morning, I think it’s better to approach our text from the ground up. I want us to understand what’s going on, and then draw lessons for us from what the passage reveals.
The inspired canticle of Simeon is in Luke’s Gospel to be a faithful testimony to the baby in Simeon’s arms. And, on this Christmas Eve, this is an especially important matter for us to consider. Who was this baby arriving with Mary and Joseph to Herod’s Temple so long ago? God wants us to listen to Simeon and understand who Jesus is.
In Mary’s song, the first word in the original is magnifies. This word sets the tone for the whole Psalm. As a whole, Mary’s song teaches us the joy of Christ’s coming. Mary calls all men to join with her joy that Christ has come. So whether you are a mature saint who has believed in Christ for a long time, or a person who has never yet believed in Christ alone for salvation, what God wants from you is to rejoice in Christ this Christmas.
The rest of Exodus 16 deals with the institution of a pre-Sinai Sabbath and the people’s response to this. I believe that the same theme of first half of the chapter can be easily brought over and extended into the focus on the manna and Sabbath. That is, we still learn here that true saints believe that God alone can satisfy their greatest desires.
The provision of food is the demonstration of the LORD’s covenantal presence and glory. It is to be a manifestation of God’s care for his people. It is the LORD who gives this food to his people, and the gift of food from God is intended to reiterate his love for them. The bread comes from God. It comes from heaven. The message of this story, the Lord’s message in the miracle of the manna is, “I am with you. You can trust me. Rely on me. Lean into me. I will sustain you. You can know that I will never let you down. I will keep my promises to you. You can be assured that I am your God and you are my people.” That is, true saints believe that God alone can satisfy their greatest desires.