All that the Lord Has Spoken We Will Do
The Lord was ready to allow Israel to enter into a covenant relationship with Him. God is going to bind Himself to certain promises that He would make to Israel. Israel was going to bind themselves to certain obligations unto God. That is how a covenant, or contract, works. This covenant was inaugurated by word of mouth (today we call this a "verbal contract") and then was written down.
The Scriptures say, "In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. 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 sons of Israel: "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. "Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel." So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD." (Exodus 19:1-8)
The Lord reminded Israel of certain truths. Though this ancient covenant has been replaced by a new and better covenant made through the blood of Christ, we do find many similarities. Consider them:
"I Bore You On Eagles' Wings" (v.4)
A rather poetic and picturesque description of the deliverance from slavery in Egypt is employed by the Lord. It vividly portrays God's miraculous provision for His people.
Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage, an enslavement of God's people that had taken place sometime after Jacob's move to Egypt during the days of Joseph 430 years before.
We also are delivered from bondage; enslavement to the cruelest taskmaster of all; sin (John 8:33-34).
God freed us by redeeming us from our former master. Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price. That price was paid by the love of God at the cross (1 Peter 1:18-19). This was the price of our ransom (1 Timothy 2:6). Without this gift from God, we would have suffered eternal, spiritual death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23). But now, our prospects are bright with hope as we journey in the wilderness, free at last, and heading for home. "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13-14). For those who experience the victory of faith, it is like being delivered from sin by our God on "eagles' wings." Now, notice some further similarities.
"If You Will Indeed Obey My Voice" (v. 5)
Israel had to obey God to be delivered as well as to remain free. If they had not kept the Passover they would have suffered the tenth plague. If they had not left Egypt, they would have remained slaves. If they had not crossed the Red Sea, they would have been recaptured or slain.
We must obey God to be delivered and to remain free. Salvation begins with the obedience of faith; that is, obedience from the heart. "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). Salvation continues with a walk of faithful obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9; Philippians 2:12).
"You Shall Be My Own Possession" (v. 5)
Israel became God's special treasure (Isaiah 43:1-4). They were important to Him as a nation as well as individuals. That is true with us today as well. God has grand plans for us, and they begin today. The Lord seeks precious friendship with us so that He might bless us as He is glorified (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9,10). We have been purchased and now it is our privilege to bring God honor and be zealous for good works which He has prepared for us to do.
"Kingdom of Priests" and a "Holy Nation" (v. 6)
Israel was God's kingdom with priest and Christians are God's kingdom of priests. We are the spiritual kingdom of Christ (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) and function as, among other things, its priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9).
Israel was also God's holy nation. (Leviticus 19:2). Today, Christians are to be a holy nation. (1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 1:15-16). This means we are to be set apart from the world in our conduct. Our purpose, our standard and our worship.
And Moses Brought Back the Words of the People to the Lord (v. 8)
Israel and God had a mediator between them in Moses. We also have one between ourselves and God; Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25). He seeks to bring us together. He is an improvement over Moses in several ways. He is without sin. He identifies perfectly with both God and man. He understands both sides intimately and personally (Philippians 2:5-11).
God has allowed us to enter into a covenant relationship with Him. When Israel of old was offered her privilege of having such a relationship with God, "All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD." (Exodus 19:8). So let us also say together: "All that the Lord has spoken we will do!" God will bless our lives as He has promised, if we will obey Him as we have promised.
"All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD." (Exodus 19:8)
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 12.5; May 2005