Summary: Are you really ready to say, "Everything the Lord says I will do?"
“The Charge of the Light Brigade: Let’s Give It Up for Jesus!”
Ex. 24:1-8; Lk. 9:57-62 & 14:25-33
Life is filled with contracts. There are contracts between management and employees, between nations, between provider and buyer, and even between husband and wife. All of these various relationships are based on promises or commitments to which the parties have bound themselves. Life for Israel was no different.
In the 24th chapter of Exodus, we see A RATIFIED COMMITMENT. The ceremony of which we just read is a ceremony of commitment – a two-sided commitment. On the one side, GOD HAS REPEATEDLY RATIFIED HIS COMMITMENT TO HIS PEOPLE. The first main covenant recorded in Scripture is that instituted by God with Noah (Gen. 8-9); God promised to never again flood the whole earth. Then in Gen. 12:1-3 God called Abraham to leave everything and everyone he knew and head for a land he had never seen so that God could build a nation and bless the world through him. God then renewed that covenant in Genesis 15. Then here in Exodus 24 God renews and amplifies the covenant with a new generation of people.
It was done, as we read, through a formal, elaborate ceremony, highlighted with the sacrifice and sprinkling of blood. The ceremony was comprised of a sacrifice, a meal in which they ate of the sacrifice, a memorial to remind people of their commitments – some kind of physical token of their oath – and then a curse pronounced upon anyone breaking the oath. As part of the ceremony the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on both the altar and the people, which united God and the people in a sacred bond. Such ceremonies and covenants were common throughout Israel’s life.
As we follow the Biblical flow of history we are reminded that JESUS RATIFIED GOD’S COMMITMENT TO US. When Jesus died on the Cross He did so as a sacrifice; He shed the blood to create a bond between us and God, to reconcile us to God. In Ephesians 2:13 Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Through the shed blood of Jesus God was covenanting with us – promising to be our God and to forever love us.
Then God secured the bond even further as THE HOLY SPIRIT RATIFIED GOD’S COMMITMENT TO US. Listen to Paul: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30) “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…’(Eph. 1:13-14) “Now it is God who makes … you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 1:21-22) As the blood was sprinkled upon the Israelite people, in order to seal God’s pardoning love upon their hearts and consciences, and to remind them that their very lives depended upon the blood, so the Holy Spirit has been given to us as a seal and pledge that God is for us and will never abandon us.
But there is a second side to this commitment ceremony. GOD IS CALLING US TO RATIFY OUR COMMITMENT TO HIM. In Exodus we notice that the people made the commitment more than once (verses 3 & 7), and they had done so also in 19:8, just prior to receiving the 10 commandments. It’s as if God wanted to be sure the people realized the significance and seriousness of what they were saying and pledging when they unanimously uttered, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” So He makes sure they repeat it in all sincerity. It is, after all, serious business. God will keep His end of the bargain, but will the people keep theirs? GOD WILL KEEP HIS END OF THE BARGAIN, BUT WILL WE KEEP OURS? We come to God on His terms, not ours. We do not obey God so that He will be faithful to us but because as the Holy God He has been faithful to us. We do not give to God so that He will give to us, but we give because He has first given to us!
This is why Jesus kept calling for A RENEWED COMMITMENT. Luke 9:51 records that Jesus “…resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke is telling us that everything Jesus did from that moment on was done to prepare for His crucifixion. So it’s in that context that we must understand the three encounters with Jesus. He was inviting people to walk with him to the cross. So let’s examine the three encounters.