Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Exodus 19 "Eagles' Wings"

Exodus 19:4 "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself."

On a Franklin Mint plate over our kitchen sink sits a beautiful scene of mountains with a soaring eagle and a water fall by Ted Blaylock. It is a wonderful depiction with part of the verse above quoted.

I think of the rough terrain it took to make up such a scene and then I think of life. I am getting old so I can look back over some high mountains and some rough valleys. In the midst though, there is beauty to see if one looks.

In our chapter today, the children have come to Sinai. It is a wilderness but something special is about to happen. God will come to mount Sinai. The Sinai is a peninsula which means it is surrounded on three sides by water. In this case, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Akabah and the Gulf of Suez. It contains 11,500 square miles.

Mount Siani is also called Mount Horeb. An exact location is not sure but scholars belief it is one of the peaks of Jebel Musa which is gigantic mass of two miles long and one mile broad. There was about 400 acres of standing room in a near valley.

The scene is magnificent.

v16 "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightenings, 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. v17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. v18 And Mount Sinai was altogether on a 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."

We see a contrast here between the Lord in the cloud and fire that guided the children of Israel and God on the mountain. The people were not to venture into the cloud that covered the mountain to gaze . It is difficult to put in a few words here but God cannot look upon sin and man is a sinful being since the fall in the garden of Eden. There is a plan in place to redeem them but Christ has not yet died. We approach God the Father through Jesus Christ the son because Christ stands in our place. God does not see our sin because he looks at us through the shed blood of Christ which wipes away the sin.

In Mount Sinai we hear the thunder and lightening and the trunpet. The smoke ascends. By contrast look in another place in a garden when Christ is risen.

John 20:14-18 "And when she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith nto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him and I will take him away. Jesus saith nto her Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him. Rabboni which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God."

Jesus had to bridge the gap left by sin. God has certain characters that can not be altered. Jesus as God and man could pay the price of sin and fill the gap and so make our approach to the Father like that of Mary in the garden instead of like the approach at Mount Sinai where only Moses and Aaron were allowed to go up the mountain.

Imagine a court of law where the judge is honest and upright. He has a law he cannot deviate from. A guilty party is before him and sentence must be passed. It would be dishonest to not pass the just penalty for the crime and the judge cannot be dishonest. Someone steps forward and says he has paid the penalty for the crime. It gives the judge an out. The penalty required by law is paid and so he can set the prisoner free.

And so in this chapter God sends Moses down to warn the people to stay where they are and not approach the mountain. The plan is in play but not in place yet. Israel carries the promise but it will be generations before the promise is fulfilled in the New Testament so a specific protocol must be followed until then.

A person before the Father without Christ stands there sinful by nature. A person who has accepted Christ as redeemer stands before the Father with Christ as the sacrifice for their sin.

Psalm 53:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good."

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