Today we begin Exodus Chapter 19.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Today we begin a new section of the Book of Exodus.
Recall there are 6 divisions in Exodus: The Deliverance Narrative, the Wilderness Experience, Covenant & Law, The Priesthood & the Tabernacle, The Golden Calf Rebellion, and the Construction of the Wilderness Tabernacle.
In the last post, we finished Chapter 18 which marked the end of the “Wilderness Experience“.
Today we will enter the third section of Exodus titled Covenant & Law.
What lies ahead in this section will not only change the very identity of the Israelites but a new and powerful governing dynamic will be introduced into the world.
Up until now, the Israelites had traveled a long and hard road.
They had endured 400 years of brutal slavery that finally ended when God struck Egypt with His awesome plagues.
Afterwards, God personally led Israel by His visible presence through the desert wilderness.
During this time, God supernaturally fed His people Manna and and gave them water to drink.
When Amalek attacked, God fought for His people and defeated this wicked nation.
After all of this, the Israelites were in many ways a changed people.
They were now fully aware that the power of their God had no limits and had developed a healthy fear of Him.
They had also accepted Moses as their chosen leader and were ready to obey His orders.
Yet in many ways, the Israelites were still the same and had a bit of growing to do.
Their faith was still weak.
They still didn’t understand that this powerful God who had rescued them from Egypt was NOT just the God of Israel, but the ONLY God that existed, period!
They also had zero grasp of His all important attribute of HOLINESS and what that meant in practical terms.
Well, this was all about to change.
The covenant relationship the Lord was now going to enter into with His people would be unprecedented in the history of mankind.
While it is true that many of the laws and commands God would give to His people through Moses already existed in other Middle Eastern societies, it was the PERSONAL relationship of the Hebrew God to His people that was ultimately unique and had no parallel anywhere else.
A reminder here: keep in mind that this new covenant would be fundamentally different than the Abrahamic covenant.
The Abrahamic covenant was actually more of a promise than a covenant.
In the Abrahamic covenant, the Lord had already unilaterally decided that Abraham’s descendants would be numerous, that they would inherit the Land of Canaan, and that through Abraham’s descendants, all families on the earth would be blessed.
Abraham had ZERO obligations to fulfill to ensure that all of this came about.
It was all on God and had nothing to do with Abraham’s responses or actions.
However, what was now about to occur at Sinai was the establishment of a two-party conditional covenant.
This was an entirely new phenomenon and remains unique among all known religion-based cultures.