emilynisch

We Will Obey

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 at 1:53 am

Still reading Exodus! In Chapter 24 I found something interesting and definitely applicable to my own life. Recently someone told me that sometimes God asks us to obey before we understand. This concept has been one that God has been teaching me recently. The core idea of it centers around belief – do I believe God good and all-powerful? The only step I need to take in general is that step of belief, of doing one small thing in faith, and he’ll do the rest. I’ve recently been thinking that one of God’s main purposes for keeping me alive is to teach me to trust in him, so it makes sense that he would put more importance on my trusting him than events that follow from it. Another way of saying this is that God looks at the heart.

The passage in Exodus Chapter 24 that helped me understand and see that this has always been God’s desire is:

7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.”

8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

It reminded me of the passage from Romans 10:

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

It seems to me like there are some keys here. In both cases, God gives offers us his way of life (through the law, or later through the gospel) and asks us whether we will agree with it and follow it. So we believe and confess. In the case in Exodus, a ransom is paid for the Israelites, something they recently learned about during what came to be called “Passover”. Death came through all of Egypt, and the first born sons of the Israelites were only spared because they had blood had already been shed and it was offered in their place. The Israelites believe and confess (or promise) and something similar happens. I don’t yet understand how deep the similarity runs. Moses says he’s sprinkling them with blood to form a covenant between they and God.

Earlier, in Chapter 23, God says something else, and I’m wondering if it can help me understand what the similarity is. It relates to life and death, and how God’s people interact with the people in the countries around them. Here’s the passage:

24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

I think this passage points back to the relationship between choices and outcomes, or seeds and fruit. In this passage, God is teaching the Israelites that the fruit of following other Gods is hunger, thirst, sickness, miscarriage and barrenness. Let me stop for a moment to clarify something. I don’t believe God is saying that if a person is barren, or sick, or whatever, that it’s a result of following other gods. God is talking to the entire group of Israelites. He’s saying that if they as a people follow other gods, these things will happen – because the fruit of following created things is only death. God also says that if they demolish all of these death-producing things and follow him they will find the things that loving God brings. He will bless them. (Notice, he doesn’t see food and water as a given. He reminds them that food and water are his free gift and a blessing.)

The point that I’m drawing from this passage in combination with the passage in Chapter 24, and the passage in Romans, is that we can say ‘yes’ to going through a process of acknowledging God that leads to covenanting with him and receiving life and increasing blessings. (For those of you worried that I’m sounding like the faith movement, don’t worry! I’m just saying that God is true life, and following Jesus means greater and great life – with a lot of persecution and other hard things while we’re here on earth.) Maybe that’s where the sprinkling of blood comes in. I’m really not sure, and it’s something that I’d like to understand better. I know that Jesus has been our sacrifice, and the one who’s book stands in for us, like the blood that stood in for the first born sons of the Israelites in Egypt. Maybe Moses sprinkling the Israelites is a testimony to that – that they needed this standing in of blood to even be able to follow God, or for God to even acknowledge him as his people. Maybe they needed to have this sort of act of acknowledgment of their unworthiness as a people as they decided to say ‘yes’ to God and ‘no’ to the ways of other peoples. I really don’t know. Please share any thoughts you have!

I think I’ll end with this though. All throughout the bible God is requiring a saying ‘yes’ to him and then a confessing. Then he sprinkles and makes us his own. Yet another example that the first step – before we see and receive (and experience) the greatness of life with him – is ours to take. Before we see we have to believe. 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