Summary: God often orchestrates events designed to bring people to a decision. This message examines that in the light of Scripture and personal experience. This church is being called upon to live out 1 Chron. 7:14.
I want to begin this morning by reading Ex. 19. This week, as I was reading this chapter, God spoke to me concerning our journey as a church and as individuals. Israel was in bondage in Egypt for 400 years—almost twice as long as America has existed. Generations of slavery had created a mindset that is probably hard for us to comprehend. They were not used to making decisions. When you’re a slave decisions are made for you; and you are told what to do. My cousin was in prison for 8 years for attempted murder. He and I worked together some right after he got out. The biggest struggle he had was the change in mindset from being a prisoner who made no decisions, to being a citizen who made many daily decisions. Even deciding what to eat or where to eat was hard for him. He had to work at a very menial job where the boss told him each thing to do. I once heard it said, “It was much easier for God to get Israel out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of Israel.” And that is true for all of us, as well. The transforming of our minds, the shaping of our thinking, as described in Rom. 12:2 is a life-long process. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”1
Israel has seen the devastation of Egypt brought on by the 10 plagues. They crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and watched God destroy Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. It is now three months later.
Follow with me as we begin reading in Ex. 19:1.
“In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, (Notice the providential guidance implied here. They were not here by chance. They were in this exact spot at this exact time according to God’s plan for their lives.)
they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.
3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. 9 And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever."
So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.
10 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set
bounds for the people all around, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain."
14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. 15 And he said to the people, "Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives."
16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20 Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.