Summary: Why would God ask the Israelites to make a verbal commitment to Him? Hadn’t they already shown their intention by following Moses out of slavery and to the foot of this mountain? Consider the power of "vows" and how God uses them in every aspect of our li
OPEN: One of our country’s most beloved Presidents was Abraham Lincoln. He had the great misfortune of being at the helm of our nation during one of it’s most troubled times. The once united States had split in two, and the armies of the North and South were waging an incessant war that claimed the lives of more men than have died in any war since.
Lincoln felt the tragedy of this war more than anyone could have guessed. He mourned the deaths of soldiers and spent long periods visiting the sick and wounded in the Union hospitals. The constant shedding of blood was sometimes almost more than he could bear. Then, in the midst of the war, his own son died and the President was literally brought to his knees.
In the middle of the week, Lincoln did what he often did during those days, he found refuge at a Presbyterian church in Washington, D.C. He went with an aide, sat with his stovepipe hat in his lap, and tried hard not to interrupt the meeting by sitting off to the side, near the preacher’s study.
The minister opened the Scriptures and taught from God’s Word. And when he finished, the president stood quietly, straightened his coat, took his hat in hand and began to leave.
His aide stopped him and said, "What did you think of the sermon, Mr. President?"
He said, "I thought the sermon was carefully thought through, eloquently delivered."
The aide said, "You thought it was a great sermon?"
Lincoln replied, "No I thought he failed… he did not ask of us something great."
APPLY: In the midst of his turmoil, even Lincoln understood that when you listen to God you should expect the Lord to call you to something grand and lofty. You should expect God to challenge us and to call us to something higher than ourselves.
But the preacher Lincoln listened to on that day failed. He failed to challenge him. He failed to ask something great of the President and of the others present.
I. In story today - Moses is the preacher and the Israelites are the congregation gathered to listen to a message from God.
And in the message, God is telling them that He has brought them up out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
· He doesn’t have to remind them of the plagues that crippled the Egyptians
· He doesn’t have to tell them of the parting of the Red Sea
· He doesn’t have to tell them of the drowning of Egypt’s mighty army in the sea
All He has to do is say…
“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” Exodus 19:4
That’s the message. But then God asks them to do something great
God asks them for a commitment.
He asks them to stand up and pledge their loyalty to Him
He says: “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..." Exodus 19:5-6
Up until this point, God has done what He’s done because of a promise He’d made to their forefathers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
He’s brought these people out of slavery in Egypt and given them an opportunity for a new life because that was the promise He had made to men who were now long dead.
But now, He speaks to this new generation of Israelites and he tells them He’s wanting something special from them. He wants to create a relationship with them. A relationship that promises even greater rewards than anything they’ve experienced before.
God is offering to make them
· HIS holy nation
· HIS kingdom of priests
· HIS treasured possession
No other nation on the face of the earth was ever offered what He was offering them now…
But there was a catch. They had to accept His offer.
Notice the word IF in His proposal (Look with me at Exodus 19:5)
“Now IF you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession….”
IF you’re willing to accept what I’m offering… you’ll have everything I can give.
God was calling them to something great.
God was calling them to stand up and MAKE A COMMITMENT to HIM.
NOW, I got asking myself: Why would God do that?
Why ask the Israelites to make this verbal commitment to Him?
I mean, hadn’t the Israelites followed Moses for the past month and a half?
Hadn’t they spent nearly 50 days in the desert depending on God for their food and water