We’re going back into the Old Testament to one of my favorite chapters, Exodus 19.
Exodus 19 is the first Pentecost. You remember that the first Passover took place the night the children of Israel left Egypt when the Death Angel passed over them and took the life of the firstborn of everything in Egypt. The Israelites were protected because of the blood of the Lamb on their doorposts. God was bringing judgment upon the entire land of Egypt.
Passover is a time of judgment. If you want to make it through that first judgment of Passover, then you have to be sure the blood is applied to the doorpost of your heart. That is where the blood is applied. That is what the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross really meant. All we need to do is claim the provision that God made, but then everybody doesn’t see a need for it. A lot of people say, “I don’t need to be saved. What are you going to save me from, the world?” They are showing their ignorance by rejecting the provision made for them. Consequently, the judgment of Passover will be upon them. They will not know the liberty that comes through the Passover blood being applied to their hearts.
The children of Israel had been in Egypt for about 400 years. The time came when God came down and elected Moses to bring them out. We are not going to go through all of that but you know what happened. The judgments of the ten plagues upon Egypt lasted about a year. The plagues were God’s judgment upon the gods of Egypt, but, more importantly, He was bringing His people unto Himself.
Fifty days after the Passover in Egypt, they came to Mount Sinai (Exodus 19), which is the first Pentecost. You will remember that on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, they were all filled with the Spirit and spoke the word of God in all the different languages of the people who were there. The emphasis was upon what they were speaking. Also, here at Mount Sinai, the first Pentecost, the emphasis was on the spoken Word. The emphasis the Lord gives is very, very important. I would like for us to get this and apply ourselves to it.
There are many, many provisions that the Lord has made for His people. As you walk with the Lord, going from one place to another, you find new provisions that are made for you as you grow and mature in the Lord. It is most important for us to have the ability to see the provision and to realize how important it is to appropriate it. A lot of people go through life and never really see the things of greatest value. A lot of Christians will go through life and never really see the provisions that are laid up for them. I was thirty years old when I accepted Christ as my Savior. Even then I didn’t know what I was doing. It took a lot of study and growth for me to realize what I had missed in my early days. I bless you to be aware of who you are in the Lord, where you need to be, and of the provisions along the way that God has provided for you. Peter talks about that: According as His divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. II Peter 1:3. Whatever you need to attain to His life and His godliness, it is provided. Not all at once, but as you grow the provisions are there and you appropriate them.
So Israel had left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. A tremendous deliverance took place at the Red Sea. Pharaoh had let them go out of Egypt, but then changed his mind and went after them with his army. The Israelites found themselves blocked in by the Red Sea with mountains on both sides and Pharaoh’s army coming up behind them. They didn’t know what to do. Moses looked to the Lord and God told him what to do. Moses raised his rod and the sea opened up.
In those early days of your walk with God the miracles seem to come so easy. Later on, they don’t come so easy. Change is required. In your immaturity a lot of things are done for you and made easy for you, but as you grow you have to learn responsibility; you have to grow up. Growing up - that’s what it is all about.
So the Israelites went through a real deliverance there at the Red Sea and the women had a great time singing the song of Moses. They pulled out their tambourines and had a real victory dance (Exodus 15). That was just one victory along the way. There will be many more victories and trials. Then we come to chapter 19 at Sinai. This is where God told Moses to bring the people after they came out of Egypt (Exodus 3:12).
Exodus 19:1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
Bless their hearts. God had a nice little wilderness there for them. A wilderness is not like a desert. A wilderness has some life, not a whole lot to sustain but there is something there. It is not like the Sahara Desert, but a wilderness. Everybody needs a wilderness at the right time for their spiritual growth. You will remember that Jesus had a wilderness experience before He began His ministry (Matthew 4). Could it be that a wilderness testing always precedes ministry? Could be.
Exodus 19:2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness...
The desert of Sinai is actually a wilderness and it uses both words in this scripture. If you are not accustomed to the wilderness, it might seem like a desert to you. Even though they were slaves in Egypt and life was not so good, nevertheless there was a supply for them. Their food wasn’t great but at least they had food. Now they are going to start growing up. The wilderness is a great place for a new step in maturity.
Exodus 19:2 ... and there Israel camped before the mount.
There will be a kind of Sermon on the Mount here that is going to come from God Himself. For that reason you could think of it as a parallel to Matthew chapter five.
Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up unto God ...
That is common throughout the Scriptures that when a person approaches God, he goes up. Whether you have a mountain or you are standing on flat ground, if you want to approach the Lord ascension is needed. Spiritually we are rising up out of the pull of worldliness. You cannot make any progress with God without moving up out of some things. If you want to move into God, then you have to move out of something. This is what Moses was doing.
Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain ...
Now, it did not say that God called Moses and then he went up. It says he went up and then the Lord called unto him out of the mountain. You have to initiate your meetings with the Lord to some extent. I don’t know if you can make a blank statement and say that you are going to always start it, because there is a pulling of the Lord upon your heart or you would not call out to Him. But you understand what we are saying here. We are responsible to have a love for the Lord. We are responsible to desire Him. Sometimes we learn too late to recognize the absence of what we need in our hearts. If we do not recognize the absence of it, you are not going to feel the pulling. It is only as you realize, “Hey, I’m suddenly aware I’m not loving the Lord like I need to. I have to do something about that. I read in Matthew today that those who hunger and thirst after God shall be filled. I don’t think I’m hungering and thirsting that much. I have to get busy with this thing.” This is part of growing up. A person could go for years and not know the dedication was missing. God help us to see what is missing in our lives. It is not always just necessary to see what is there but notice what is missing also. So God speaks to Moses in verse three. We’ll continue there.
Exodus 19:3 ...Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel.
Now what’s the difference between the house of Jacob and the children of Israel? They are the same only different. I’ll explain what I mean. Jacob was a supplanter, a deceiver. In Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestled with the Lord. Jacob’s nature was changed and his name was changed accordingly. He was now an Israel, a prince with God. Therefore the “house of Jacob” speaks of God’s people before the change, and “children of Israel” refers to those who have wrestled with the Lord or is wrestling with the Lord. You remember in John 1:47 when Jesus saw Nathanael coming He said, “Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile” (John 1:47). Jesus was saying, “There’s no Jacob in him. He is free of that beguiling spirit.” The house of Jacob, then, is still deceitful. There were a lot of Jacobs around that mountain of Sinai. There were also some that would become the house of Israel, a prince of God.
Exodus 19:4 You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.
God delivered them from Egypt to bring them unto Himself. He did not say, “Well, you saw how I delivered you from Egypt and I brought you through the Red Sea and to Sinai so I could talk to you.” No, He said, “I brought you to Myself. What I have done to you and what I’m doing and what I’m going to continue to do is all a part of bringing you to Myself.” This has been His goal from the very beginning. Jesus talked about it continuously during His ministry on earth. After that, Paul and the others spoke of it - God bringing us to Himself. He wants us to be just like He is. He wants to deliver us from that Jacob spirit, that Jacob heart.
Jacob, running from Esau, lighted upon a certain place and spent the night. He had a dream of a ladder reaching up into heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it (Genesis 28). “Boy, this is God’s house and I didn’t know it. I’ll name it Bethel. Now, Lord, if you’ll bless me, I will give you a tenth of everything.” See? He is so much of a supplanter, so much of a deceiver he is even trying to bargain with God! Jacob at this time just does not have much revelation or understanding. He doesn’t know himself. He is not aware of what he really is. God deals with him later and takes care of that deceiving spirit when they wrestle in Genesis 32 and Jacob becomes an Israel, a prince of God. Every one of us has to go through that same thing until our Jacob nature is worked out of us and we become what God wants us to be. So He is bringing us unto Himself. It didn’t stop at Sinai. This is just one meeting place here.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine.
All the earth is Mine… “How about all the people that are not Christians?” They belong to God, too. Everybody on earth belongs to God. In fact, everything on this earth belongs to the Lord, for He said, The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1. Everyone belongs to the Lord and is answerable to Him.
I want you to notice something in the first part of verse 5: If you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant.... Too many Christians misunderstand that. They look at that as: If you will obey My commandments. They do not understand what the Scriptures mean when God says, “Obey My voice.” He does not say, “Obey what I tell you to do.” He says, “Obey My voice.” When He speaks of His voice, He is talking about His Spirit. Obey His Spirit, be subject to Him.
Obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant. Now He first says to obey His voice. God doesn’t speak out loud to us. God is Spirit and we have to learn the ways of Spirit. His voice is the emanations that flow out from His presence. That is His voice, His Spirit, His presence. To obey His voice means to be in subjection to His will. Next, He says to keep His covenant, but you cannot keep God’s covenant until you learn how to obey His voice. We sometimes use the expression, “This is what the Lord is speaking” or “I believe God is speaking this” or “Do you know what the Lord is speaking?” There are no noises, no sounds. Are you receiving the emanations of His life and presence? That is what it’s talking about - if you can learn His voice.
I find that even the majority of Christians are not aware of spiritual things. There are also emanations of soul. People are just naturally soulish, some more soulish than others but in different ways. There are many ways to be soulish, but man is naturally soulish in some ways and it is very difficult for a person to move out of the soul into the Spirit and to know the difference. The Lord is saying, “Learn how to obey My voice, to recognize the emanations going out from Me. Then learn how to keep the covenant.” The covenant of the Lord is only revealed by His voice or His Spirit that is flowing from Him. You could read about the covenants where God says, “I make a covenant with you,” but you will not know what it means until you learn how to receive the emanations of His Spirit. Then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine.
Exodus 19:6 And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests...
Do you see what the Lord wants you to be? “Well, that’s Old Testament. We’re in New Testament now.” Same God, and He has the same purposes as He had then. He is still working on this. He wants a kingdom of priests. If you don’t quite understand that, go to the second chapter of Peter. Peter talks about it, and he uses some of the same terminology about being a peculiar people (I Peter 2:9).
And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests.... What do priests do? They minister to the Lord. God says, “I need some ministry and I need some people who can minister to Me.” So you are going to be a kingdom of priests. Don’t worry too much about individually becoming a priest; be concerned about becoming a part of that Kingdom priest company. We need to learn how to think as members of Christ rather than just as individuals.
Exodus 19:6 ...and a holy nation.
One thing that will help you want to be a holy nation is to find out how unholy you really are. If you want to become a holy nation, something has to energize you and get your “want to be holy” started. Blessed is he that hungers and thirsts after righteousness. When righteousness becomes the thing that you value above everything else and you want it more than your own life that is when you will start hungering for it, to really want it. Most people read that scripture and it doesn’t mean anything. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6. “Well, I’m a Christian so I guess I’m hungering and thirsting after righteousness.” Not necessarily. If we could just learn to value the things of God as they really are. When you really want to be a part of that priesthood and that holy nation then and only then will it begin.
Exodus 19:6 These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
So the entire five books of Moses – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – this is what Moses is doing. In Hebrew 3, God said Moses was faithful in his house. What was he faithful at doing? He was faithful to speak those words to the children of Israel, and after Moses the prophets picked it up. Jesus spoke those words. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees, “If you really knew Moses and what he was talking about, you would know me because he spoke of Me.” These words, These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, and then Jesus said, The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are Life (John 6:63). But the ministry the Lord has given us is our responsibility. The same words that God spoke to Moses that was carried on by the prophets and David in the Psalms and Jesus and the apostles of the New Testament, the same calling is upon us: Speak these words to the children of Israel. Speak these words to the people of the United States. Speak these words to those in Africa and Asia and different places. Speak these words, this same word. He is not talking about preaching sermons, but let there be His voice, the emanations of God’s presence and His presence and what He is flowing out from us. Obey My voice and let this same Voice flow through you. That is what He is talking about it.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose