Summary: This sermon is a precursor to a series on the Ten Commandments. It explains what the law tells us about God and about us as well as what the law could never do.
May 21, 2000 Exodus 19
“Laying down the law”
1. The giving of the law established the fact that God wants a relationship with mankind. (Exodus 19:3-6)
I want to give you a principle that will help you in many different areas of your life. It will help you in your relationship with God, your relationship with your kids, and even your relationships at work. Here’s the principle: RULES without RELATIONSHIP leads to REBELLION. If you lay down rules for your kids to follow, but you spend no time getting to know them, involving yourself in their lives and allowing them to get to know you, then chances are that they will rebel against you. If in your work relationship, the only time that you ever have contact with your boss is when he is laying down the requirements of the job and telling you how far short you fall of those requirements, the chances are that you will resent that boss. You may not rebel outwardly for fear of losing your job, but there will probably be rebellion in your heart. The same is true in your relationship with God. Part of the reason that you have a real problem with some of the laws that He has laid down for your life is because you have not ever established a personal relationship with Him or you have never worked very hard to make that relationship strong and special. Do you know that before God ever laid down the first of the Ten Commandments, He made it very clear that He wanted a special relationship with these people.
God demonstrates His power, His provisions and His protection to draw you to Himself (vs. 4)
God demonstrated His power when He rescued the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. He sent 10 awe-inspiring plagues on the Egyptians to convince both the Egyptians and the Israelites that He truly was almighty God. He caused the water to turn to blood, and the sky to rain down hail, and the darkness to cover the face of the land in the middle of the day. And then when Israel was trapped at the Red Sea, God demonstrated His power by parting the waters so that the Israelites could cross over on dry ground. God demonstrated His provisions by providing them a fountain of water that flowed out of a rock and bread that materialized on the ground every morning. When Israel’s enemies threatened to destroy them, whether it was the Egyptians at the Red Sea or the Amalekites out in the wilderness, God demonstrated His protection by wiping them out. Why did God do all these things for Israel? Look at vs. 4. [read it]. God did all these things in order that He might bring them into a relationship with Himself.
The Bible records in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift comes down from God the Father. That means that everything good that has ever happened in your life didn’t just happen. It was sent down by God. Every time that there was food on your table, it was because God provided it for you. Every time that you have received healing from a disease or sickness was because God demonstrated His power in your life. Every accident that you have ever avoided and every storm that you have made it through were because of God’s hands of protection surrounding you. Why does He do these things in your life? Is it because you are good person? No. It is because He wants you to recognize His love for you and He wants to draw you into a relationship with Him.
God communicates His desire to make you His special treasure above all other things (vs. 5)
God told Moses to tell the Israelites that if they would choose to enter into this relationship, that He would make them specifically His most prized possession of all that He had in the entire universe. Last Wednesday night, Dan and Stacie walked through the doors of the this church carrying their most prized possession – little Daniel. You know how people, especially women, react over a new baby. There were plenty of “awes” and “oh”’s, and people wanting to hold him. I imagine that if you tried to offer Dan and Stacie all the wealth of this world in exchange for their little son, it would not even be tempting to them. He is their prized possession. That’s the same attitude that God has toward us when we make Him our Father. Think about the other options that God has to make into His prized possession. He could have chosen the angels. They are not scarred with sin. They do exactly what he tells them to do without question or hesitation. They are in a constant chorus of worship toward Him. But God didn’t choose them as His treasured possession. He could have chosen the stars as His treasured possession. They put off great amounts of light and energy. They are beautiful. But God didn’t choose the stars. He chose us. He chose [begin to point at people and name their names] as His treasured possession. You are more important to Him, he would rather have you than any other creature in the whole universe.