19 Comes Before 20
Exodus 19:1-6; 20:1-2
1st Sunday after Pentecost
About 2 months after Easter
Beginning a series on the 10 Commandments
1st century: Pentecost became a celebration of the Law
We don’t much care for commandments or commands
Most folks think of the 10 Commandments as a list of shall-nots
What about you? Can you name all 10? <not necessarily in order>
No other gods; no images; misuse of name; Sabbath rest; honor mom & dad; don’t kill; don’t commit adultery; don’t steal; don’t lie; don’t covet
Are the commandments still important? Do the rules still apply?
Purpose: not to save, but to allow the Israelites to reflect God
Part of the rules for being a “holy nation”
Israel was set apart to be a model for all humanity
How we got here:
Covenant of land & blessing with Abraham in Gen 12:1-2: Leave your land, your family, & your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation & will bless you.
Passed on to Isaac in Gen 26:3: I will be w/ you & bless you because I will give all of these lands to you & your descendants. I will keep my word, which I gave to your father Abraham.
Then 400 years of slavery in Egypt
Can you imagine the dejection & doubt?
After a long dark night of Israel’s soul, dawn breaks!
God calls Moses from a burning bush & sends him to liberate Israel
with a mighty hand & outstretched arm, the people are freed
they cross the Red Sea on dry ground
they receive bread & quail from the sky & water from the rock
after 3 months, they arrive at Mt Sinai
And God speaks to Moses:
This is what you should say to Jacob’s household & declare to the Israelites: You saw what I did to the Egyptians, & how I lifted you up on eagle’s wings & brought you to me. (Ex 19:3-4)
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Ex 20:2)
In these words, God is doing a new thing
God, speaking thru a mediator, pulls 12 tribes together into 1 nation
In this covenant, 3 promises are made by God to Israel
A precious possession, living differently from “human nature”
What is a precious possession? Craddock story of Glen Adsit, Christian missionary to China. Allowed 200 pounds. “Weigh the kids.”
A kingdom of priests
Priests had special access to God
A holy nation
Sharing God’s character – Lev. 19:2: You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
God gives only one condition in order to receive the promises: odedience.
Ex 19:5: If you faithfully obey me & stay true to my covenant…
Because of this special relationship, Israel is given the Law
It is more privilege than burden
It is more for being an example than being constantly examined
It is to be a light to the nations & not held under a spotlight
These same attributes might be considered our Pentecost challenge
Because of the giving of the Holy Spirit…
Privilege over burden
Example over examination
Shining light over under a spotlight
Pentecost became a celebration of the giving of the Law
So we’ll begin the season by looking at the 10 Commandments
My prayer is that we, too, will find the 10 Commandments a cause for celebration
Even if you can’t name them all!