"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter NINETEEN


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Exodus by pastor Chuck Smith 

EXODUS 19: “Sanctified at Sinai in Sight of GOD” – by James Fire, Facebook video.  

INTRODUCTION: Our life with GOD is a journey which He started when He first revealed Himself to us through the Scriptures. Hopefully, we progress and grow in our relationship with the LORD so that as that relationship becomes more intimate, the LORD blesses us with progressive revelation, that is, deeper and greater revelation of Himself as found in the Word. And it’s when we see more of GOD’s nature, this spurs us on to greater and deeper love and intimacy with Him, just as He desires!

It’s when we stop seeking GOD, when we don’t hunger for more of Him, no longer gaining greater intimacy with His heart, that this progressive revelation on a personal level ceases. Then our seeking and praying becomes less and less fervent. 

We begin to falter in our relationship with GOD as we attend less altars with GOD. Where we once laid down our lives as living sacrifices, for Him to transform and create in us a deeper holiness and love for Him, we focus instead on living our own life.

Our security with Him, the conviction of the truth of our salvation, the assurance of answered prayer – all comes into question and we even begin to doubt GOD’s love. We suddenly find ourselves at a distance from GOD and wonder how we ever got to such a lonely place.

I believe this is the first time in the book of Exodus, where GOD speaks not just to Moses, but to the entire nation of Israel. They hear the very voice of GOD! Then they witness with their own eyes, the presence of the LORD coming down to Sinai! They are terrified at the awesome power and presence of the living GOD! In chapter 20 they tell Moses, “Let GOD speak only to you from now on, we don’t want to hear Him anymore!” 

He calls Moses to sanctify the people, and His call to the people of Israel is also our calling – for the LORD has said,

Be holy, for I am holy1 PETER 1:16.

The LORD reveals Himself more, His holiness, His supreme justice, and glory in the giving of the Law in chapter 20.
He expounds on His revelation, His glory and majesty later on in this book and we’ll take a sneak peek at EXODUS 34.
It’s here in chapter 19 where the LORD once again “proves” His people and talks about His testing them to see if they will be faithful and obedient or not (vs. 5-6). 

EXODUS 19:1-4
1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. 3 And Moses went up unto God*, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself

We read this passage casually, not thinking of how life really must have been like, living in the wilderness for three months with well over 1 or 2 million others. Sure, they got the gold and silver of Egypt; but you can’t eat it or drink those! They didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from, or their next drink of water. They had no idea how far they would have to travel or where their ultimate destination would be.

All that they had was GOD’s Word to trust, that He would provide for them.
And having GOD’s promises, that ended all of their mumbling, murmuring, and complaining, right??

But after a long journey from Shur to Rephidim they’ve now arrived at Sinai. They set up camp and Moses goes up the mountain to talk with GOD.
*Note: this is the first time in this chapter that Moses ascends the mountain of GOD. Here GOD calls upon Israel as a witness of all that He had done for them, in delivering them from Egypt and bringing them to Sinai by His power, and to Himself.

GOD will stop at no lengths to get you to Him; to bring you to the place of His will for your life.
Consider Jonah – GOD used a whale to get him where the LORD wanted him to be. GOD used an ark to get Noah where He wanted him to be. GOD used 10 ornery and vengeful brothers to get Joseph where He wanted him to be. GOD used the Roman Empire and Paul’s own Roman citizenship to get the apostle where GOD wanted Paul to be.

Jesus Christ hung on the cross for our sin, in order to redeem us, and bring us to the very throne of GOD’s grace, where HE wants us to be!
Wherever you are, consider that GOD has a direction for your life, whether you know it or not, and in His marvelous, limitless, and almighty sovereignty and foreknowledge, He can get His children where He desires them to be.

PROVERBS 16:9
A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps
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GOD promised Abraham that his descendants would return to the promised land after 400 years of servitude (GEN 15:13-16), and He’s making good on His promise! But He has a purpose in mind here on Mount Sinai for His people, as we shall see.

EXODUS 19:5-6
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: 6 And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel
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“If you will obey My voice” – GOD directs us to the place where we have opportunity to glorify His name. GOD is looking for obedient hearts of love, and it’s those who love GOD that obey GOD, not in word only but ‘in deed’, indeed (“Whatever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to GOD and the Father by HimCOL 3:17)!


“...and keep My covenant” – Remember that a covenant is a sacred agreement between people, a serious commitment. There are certain types of covenants that if you break them, you must pay with your life!
Like the covenant that GOD made with Abraham. That was a blood-oath covenant, where animals were sacrificed, split in half, making a bloody path for the two parties to walk through, reciting the terms of the covenant. If Abraham broke that covenant, he would have to pay with his life.

Which is why GOD knocked the saint out, and the LORD alone walked through that bloody path. GOD recited the terms of the agreement, binding them upon Himself only, not Abraham. This covenant of promise in GENESIS 15 is an unconditional covenant. Very different than the Mosaic covenant of the law which we will get to eventually in our study of the Old Testament.
GOD states that IF they keep His covenant, then they shall be a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation before the LORD.

Now where have we heard this before? Somewhere in the New Testament?

1 PETER 2:9-10
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people but are now the people of GOD: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy
.

Ultimately GOD’s Word over Israel will be fulfilled and by His Spirit, they will be His holy nation – one of two. We are that other holy nation: the church! 

Let’s hear what GOD says about His promise to Israel:
EZEKIEK 36:26-27
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them
.

Israel will be reborn as a nation, just as we as Christians individually all come to faith and are born again of GOD’s Spirit.
This testifies of the truth, that whether it’s Israel or the church, GOD IS NOT WITHOUT A WITNESS to His Truth in this fallen world drenched with deception, darkness and death! 

EXODUS 19:7-8
7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord
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The people promised to obey the word of the LORD; but you and I know that they haven’t got a clue as to how rebellious they really are, or what they’re going to do to defile themselves in just the next chapter.

When the LORD heard the people make this promise, I’m sure His reaction was very much the same as He had in JOHN 2:24-25
But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because he knew all men, and didn’t need any to testify of man, for He knew what was in man
.

So Moses climbs the mountain again to tell GOD what the people said.
*Note: this is the second time Moses ascends the mountain of GOD. Did GOD need Moses to deliver this message? Was He dependent on Moses’ news reports? Hardly.
But it’s interesting when you note where it’s recorded in this chapter, how many times Moses ascended up Mount Sinai to talk with GOD. Let’s read on. . . 

EXODUS 19:9-11
9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you and believe you forever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord. 10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes,11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai
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Up until now, the children of Israel had seen the miraculous works of GOD, showing His superiority over the false gods of Egypt, and the parting of the Red Sea, and the pillars of cloud and fire, leading them through the wilderness and providing for them every day.
But they have yet, in a sense, to see GOD, and it’s in this chapter that this happens, but they hear Him first. They’ve been getting revelation of GOD through Moses, His prophet as he relates to them what GOD told him.

But it’s when they hear GOD speaking directly to Moses and the prophet responding that this makes concrete, a rock-solid belief that GOD has spoken, and spoken to Moses specifically. They believe without any doubt at that point, that Moses is truly GOD’s representative!

Here, among other examples found in this chapter, Moses is seen as a type of Christ, because both are representatives for GOD, and pre-eminently the LORD Jesus Christ as THE Representative – superior to Moses, as the book of HEBREWS emphasizes in chapter 12. 

Moses is a go-between, as we see him, hoofing it up this mountain, and getting a word from the LORD, then climbing back down the mountain. Moses is a mediator between GOD and Israel, just as the LORD Jesus is the Mediator between GOD and man (1 TIM 2:5).

GOD instructs Moses to get the people ready for what we might call a 'Sunday-go-to-meetin’ at church' day! He tells him, Have them wash their clothes and sanctify themselves.
Clothes in the Bible often symbolically refers to the condition of our hearts and how we live our lives.

The prophet Zechariah witnessed the high priest of his day as having filthy garments in ZECHARIAH 3, and the LORD told him to take away his filthy garments, for the LORD has caused his iniquity to pass away, and GOD then clothed him with a change of raiment.
In ISAIAH 61:10 GOD clothes His saints with the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness; comparing His saints with a bride, adorned with jewels granted to her, by her bridegroom.
James says to the rich in JAMES 5:2, that their riches are corrupted, and their garments are motheaten; whereas the LORD Jesus addresses the church of Sardis (REV 3:4) and observes that there are a few who have not defiled their garments and shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.

GOD tells Moses, have the people wash their clothes: get your lives in order, seek GOD and His righteousness, prepare to meet the LORD your GOD!

AMOS 4:11-12
I have overthrown some of you as GOD overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet you have not returned unto Me, says the LORD. Therefore thus will I do to you O Israel: and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your GOD O Israel
.

HOSEA 10:12
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD until He come and rain righteousness upon you
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As members of the church, we don’t have to go to a certain location and ‘there’ meet with GOD, because the Holy LORD GOD dwells within us; and where two or three are gathered together (wherever that may be) in His Name, He is ‘there’ in our midst. This is NOT to say that assembling together as the church isn’t necessary – it is! Yet we don’t have to meet at a church building in order to meet with GOD, is the point!

Israel had to wash their clothes before meeting with GOD at Sinai; we saints have GOD dwelling in us and in our midst – always. May we always walk in clean clothes, the very life we live, may we walk with JESUS in holiness, in purity, in godliness – daily growing in His likeness, not having already obtained, but growing with joy in the knowledge that we will obtain the fullness of holiness, purity and godliness when we see Him face to Face!

How many days did GOD tell Moses to have the people ready by? Verse 11 tells us: by the third day. It mentions this again in vs. 15 & 16. By the way, which month was it when Israel was delivered out of Egypt (it says so in vs. 1)? “In the third month”!

EXODUS 19:12-13
12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: 13 There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount
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When GOD sets bounds, people think it’s because He doesn’t want us to have something; that He is depriving us of something fun or something good. The 10 Commandments which we will study next time in Chapter 20 are GOD-established bounds, not to deny us of something good, but to keep us from evil, from sin and from harm.

Here GOD sets bounds in instructing Moses to keep the children of Israel off of the holy mountain; they can’t even touch the border of this mountain, and if any should touch the mountain while GOD is there, they’re to be put to death.

Such is the holiness of GOD – that none can see GOD and live (EXOD 33:20). So GOD intends to shroud Himself in a thick cloud and seeks to keep His people safe by not allowing them to touch the mountain that He descends to.

So why was Moses allowed on the mountain?
Again, as a type of Christ, He represents the mediator – the only one who can approach GOD. The LORD Jesus Christ, our blessed mediator, approaches GOD on our behalf and presents His own blood shed for us, and GOD then declare us righteous (ROM 4)!
These are bounds set by GOD Who is Himself bound by His love for us, in seeking to keep us from harm and for blessing!

Notice here that the saints of GOD are to come near and approach GOD at this mountain, but only when the trumpet sounds! What does that remind you of? 1 THESS 4:16the trump of GOD” maybe? Rapture of the church?

EXODUS 19:14-16
14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. 16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled
.

Moses puts into practice what GOD told him to do in sanctifying the people. It’s one thing to study the Scriptures and learn about holiness; it’s quite another to obey the Scriptures and live holiness. Holiness is not some unobtainable objective – the same Holy Spirit that inspired the writers of the Holy Scriptures is the same Holy Spirit that can empower us to live holy lives!
GOD made good on His promise too – just as He said about getting the people prepared in vs. 11 to meet Him, on the third day, they witnessed what GOD had promised! 

At the sound of the trump, the people trembled in seeing GOD descend on the mountain.
We look forward to the sound of the trump, when we saints shall “in a moment, in the twinkle of an eye", meet with GOD the Son as He “descends from heaven with a shout”!

EXODUS 19:17-20
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the [furthest end] of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up*
.

Here we see Israel witnessing the awesome glory of GOD! He’s bringing before the eyes of the people, a greater revelation of Himself; in Egypt He showed them His awesome power; here He is showing them His awesome glory; in the next chapter, He will show them His awesome holiness in the giving of the Law!

And Moses himself is receiving greater revelation: when he first met with GOD, the LORD spoke to him out of the burning bush – and now? GOD is speaking to him out of a burning mountain!

Israel is witnessing GOD answering Moses as His prophet spoke to him! Just as GOD said, “The people will believe you, now that they have heard you speak to Me, and I answered!” (vs 9). Here we have the trumpet sounding long, growing louder and louder. Again, a beautiful picture of the rapture of the church, and it’s then that Moses goes up to – not just to the mountain, but this time “to the top of the mountain”!

*Note: this is the third time that Moses ascends the mountain to GOD in this chapter.
Do you see a pattern here? The third month is mentioned in vs. 1; the third day in which the people meet with GOD is mentioned in vs. 11,15, and 16. And now we witness Moses ascending up the mountain of GOD a total of three times!

What supreme and holy event do we know of that happened on the third day?
And all of this before chapter 20 – before the giving of the Law.

What does this hint at?
What Paul the apostle told us in GALATIANS 3:16-18
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made
[unconditional promises based on GOD’s Word, His Oath, His Promise; HEB 6:13-17]. He says not ‘And to your seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to your seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before GOD in Christ, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years after [Abraham], cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance is of the Law, then it’s no more of promise. But GOD gave it to Abraham by promise.

So here in Chapter 19, we have tucked away these clues in the form of these ‘3’s’ to show that the righteousness granted to Abraham by faith in the promises of GOD, all fulfilled in Jesus Christ our LORD, Who resurrected on the third day, ascended to ‘the mount of GOD’ in the glories of heaven, is based on the grace of GOD, and not by the Law of Moses.

EXODUS 19:21-25
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them. 23 And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. 24 And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them. 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them
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Even the priests, of the lineage of Aaron find a need to sanctify themselves – and yet for all that, they weren’t permitted to step foot on the mountain either! Only Moses – and as we will see, Aaron is soon allowed in that holy place!
The progressive revelation of GOD is only just beginning! This is what we look forward to examining later on 15 chapters from now:

A sneak peek at EXODUS 34:5-7a
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin

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