We Will Not Be Obedient

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4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 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.” 8 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.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ex 24:4–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Here we have with Moses the covenant ceremony similar to what Abraham had with God.

God has entered into a new administration of his covenant with Moses and the people. They have accepted. God has delivered them from Egypt. He has given them the law. And now they solemnize their entry into the covenant. Moses, like Abraham, slaughters the animals. He splashes the blood on the people. That blood would cover them. It would embed in their clothes. It would cover the soil. It would dry on their skin. It was a visible, lasting reminder that they were now bound to God and that they must be obedient to God or they would die.

“Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” With these words, Moses made clear that the Israelites had to comply with the entirety of God’s commands. They were now bound to him and they bound themselves. “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”

But how can this be? We have men binding themselves to God and pledging, through the covenant ceremony, that they will die if they do not give perfect obedience. The history of the wandering in the wilderness is one of disobedience, even after this moment. Go back to Abraham. There, God himself passed through the parts of animals signaling that he would ensure Abraham and his heirs did not fail their end of the covenant.

So if God promised to take on the burden, but then man under Moses promised to take on the burden, both would have to die. And so both did. One man took on the sins of the world, being fully God and fully man. God fulfilled the obligations of the people at Sinai by becoming a man born to die for them. He kept his promise. Through his death we lived.

Think of all your sins. Think of every single one of them. Think of the sin that you will not even admit to your closest friend or loved one. Think of that sin about which you are most ashamed. That sin — the one you will not utter to friends and family, the one you are most ashamed of — God already knows it. He knows we will not be obedient even when we say we will be. Repent of your sin and know Christ died on the cross for that sin too. You have forgiveness.

In the whole plan of human history, God pledged to Abraham that God himself would ensure Abraham’s success. When God weighed the people down with the law to show them their sin, the people pledged their lives. So God came down as man to die in the place of the Israelites and to die in our place for our sins too.

Repent and rejoice. God himself forgives you. And forgiveness from God is a greater, more lasting forgiveness than any forgiveness you may find on earth. God set you up to win and he will not let you fail even when you fall so long as you put your trust in him.

About the author

Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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