3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, 6 you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
The key verses above are 5 and 6a, Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God is making a covenant with Israel through Moses, but it is a two sided covenant. Israel is to be God’s treasured possession if [Israel] obeys Me fully and keep My covenant. In obeying God they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
However, as we discover reading through scripture, they could not obey God – at least not consistently and continually. He however loved Israel consistently and continually, often correcting the behavior of the people of Israel even to the point of having them exiled from the promised land.
Notice God did not want some empty ritual of obedience, as He said, if you obey Me fully and fully meant fully – sincerely, diligently, and constantly. When empty rituals became the standard He found them detestable. A few examples are
If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.
Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
[God speaking to Ezekiel] 30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
Whether it is God the Father in the Old Testament or Jesus in the New Testament, obedience by going through the motions is not what God is interested in at all. He is interested in you and I putting His words into practice and obeying Him with our hearts. James 4:7 says, Submit yourself unto God, resist the devil and he will flee. You cannot resist the devil successfully without first submitting yourself unto God. Obedience, fully and openly is what God wants and even demands. He knows we will fail, but the question is will we pick ourselves up from each failure, repent, and grasp Jesus’ open hand as He helps us with our walk.
It’s Friday and I hope you have a Great Weekend and remember to Go To Church where you will have fellowship, corporate prayer and praise, and Biblical teaching. Make the most of it.