Day 72 – Deuteronomy 5-7
The two biggest events in the cultural consciousness of Israel are escaping Egypt and the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. These two are, of course, closely linked. There is no Mt. Sinai without escape from Egypt. There is no real purpose to leaving Egypt without the establishment of the nation and her identifying cultural religion which began at Sinai. When God told Pharaoh he wanted his people to go out into the desert and be able to worship him, this is what he had in mind. At Sinai he taught them how to worship; he showed them how to truly become his people, a holy nation. Here there is some clarification that holy is not used in the sense of clean, faultless, or perfect. Holy means set apart, chosen for a special purpose. Israel is holy amongst all the nations; Christians are a holy people from all the world. Neither are chosen and set apart because there is anything special found in them, but for God’s reasons alone. And that event was forever seared into their memories – a smoking, fiery, thunder enveloped mountain from which God’s voice was heard booming across the plain. Much like at his first appearance to Moses, Yahweh appeared before Israel as a voice in a fire which burned but did not consume. The cornerstone of the law given then is the Ten Commandments. The first four of these specifically lay down the foundation for honoring God. The summary of these in Deuteronomy may sound familiar because they are what Jesus quoted, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength.”
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Donovan Campbell, pastor of Greenville Presbyterian Church in Donalds, SC.