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A Word from the Lord

with Archbishop Foley Beach
How God Says He Loves Us: Part 3 -- The Covenant with Moses Sunday, February 18, 2018
Website Link:  www.AWordFromTheLord.org/.   Message Summary: Throughout human history, God has reached out to humans for a personal relationship and to express His love for humankind. We have a God that loves us so much, and God’s love for us is expressed to us through His “covenants”. Also, God’s “covenants” reveal to us His grace and faithfulness. In today’s message, we will discuss God’s Covenant with Moses. A “covenant” can be defined as an “oath or promise of God”. In a Biblical covenant: 1) God establishes the Covenant; 2) God always implies that “I am your God, and you are my people” – God desires a personal relationship with us; and 3) God sets the Covenant’s terms and rulers. After God’s Covenant with Abraham, his son Isaac became the recipient of God’s blessings. Subsequently, Isaac had two sons. One of Isaac’s sons was Jacob, and God changed Jacobs name to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons, and they evolved into the “Twelve Tribes of Israel”. In Genesis 37, the focus begins upon Isaac’s son Joseph; and Genesis ends, in Genesis 50, with Joseph’s death in Egypt. In Exodus 1, two hundred and fifty years have passed since the death of Joseph. During this time, God’s people and the people of Egypt forgot about Joseph. God’s people became fruitful and multiplied, but they forgot about God and God’s Covenant with Abraham; and the people began to worship idols. Exodus 2 presents the birth of Moses., and Exodus 3 includes God’s call to Moses and God’s appearance to Moses through the burning bush. Since God had a blood covenant with His people, He sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people leave Egypt. Pharaoh said “no”, so God sent nine plagues on the people of Egypt – nine chances for their Repentance. Since Pharaoh continued to say “no”, God sent the tenth plague on the people of Egypt – a plague of Judgement on the people of Egypt. After the Passover for His people in the Plague of Judgement, Pharaoh relented and let God’s people leave Egypt. In Exodus 19, God’s people wound up on Mount Sini, and God made the “Sini Covenant” with Moses in Exodus 19:4-6: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”. In prior covenants, God did everything; but in this “Sini Covenant”, the people had obligations. God gives His Law, the Ten Commandments, to His people as God speaks directly to them in Exodus 20. The Glory of God, when He was speaking directly to His people, was too much for the people; and they feared a direct personal relationship with God, and they wanted Moses or an intermediary to speak to them for God – they rejected a personal relationship with God just has humans have been doing ever since. In Exodus 21, Exodus 22, and Exodus 23 (“The Book of the Covenant”), God takes His Ten Commandments and He applies the Ten Commandments to our everyday living. In Exodus 24:3,7-8, Moses takes God’s Book of the Covenant to the people: “Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.’ Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’ And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’”. Deuteronomy 28 presents the “blessings” for the people if they adhere to their promises to God in the “Book of the Covenant”. On the other hand, Deuteronomy 28 lays out the “curses” for non-adherence to the Covenant. Within six weeks, God’s people, who had said “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do”, had disobeyed and broken their Covenant with God. The disobedience of God’s people is significant to us today because “it shows us what sin is”. “God is unconditional love” (1 John 4:16); and in this Covenant, God made plain to all of us “what sin is”. “We are made by God to be perfect mirrors of God’s Agape love.” Our sin is our failure to act as the God of Agape love acts. Sin is our self-centeredness.  “The opposite of love is not hate; sin is me.” The Ten Commandments are not negative; they are God’s Agape love because they show us what a life of love and without sin and death does not include. Jesus tells us the most important Commandment in Mark 12:28-30: “’. . . Which commandment is the most important of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’”. The people of Israel continued to mess up and sin, but they continued to sacrifice a lamb for their sin thinking that their sacrifice brought their lives of sin back into adherence with their Covenant. However, in both God’s impatience with our sin and in His Agape love and His adherence to this Covenant, God sent the perfect Lamb as His and our sacrifice for our sin – Jesus the Christ. This old Covenant points to God’s New Covenant – Jesus’ death on the cross and His Resurrection. Have you asked Jesus into your life so that your sin is atoned? If not, then there is a blot between you and God. Remember, the God who made Covenant with Moses is Jesus of our Trinitarian God.   Today’s Affirmation: Today, I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13).   Scripture Reference (ESV): Genesis 3:15; Genesis 37:1-36; Genesis 39:1-23; Genesis 41:1-57; Genesis 42:1-38; Genesis 43:1-34; Genesis 44:1-34; Genesis 45:1-28; Genesis 46:1-34; Genesis 47:1-31; Genesis 50:1-26;  Exodus 1:1-22; Exodus 2:1-25; Exodus 3:1-22; Exodus 19:3-11; Exodus 24:1-18; Deuteronomy 28:1-68; 1 John 4:16; Mark 12:29-30.

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