Tuesday, January 21, 2013
“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).
Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.
Atheists, Bible skeptics, and agnostics frequently ridicule the Bible because of the “cruel” God of its Old Testament, His strict laws and merciless chastisements. (Evidently, they seem to miss Old Testament passages such as Exodus 34:6,7: “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin….”)
Once JEHOVAH delivered Israel from Egypt, He immediately gave the Jews a series of three tests. The Bible says, “He proved [tested, evaluated] them” (Exodus 15:25)—the bitter water He made potable for them. Again, “…That I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4)—the manna He gave them to eat. In chapter 17, He miraculously gave them water to drink. Still, they complained constantly, and Moses became increasingly irritated with them. Within those three chapters, the Bible makes reference to ungrateful Israel’s “murmuring” some ten times. And God heard every complaint those two million Jews made… and provided for them anyway!
Sinful Israel demonstrated that she could not follow God’s directions. The Jews doubted God’s provisions (they said they preferred returning to Egyptian bondage, according to Exodus 16:3!), and when He did provide for them, they disobeyed His instructions when collecting the manna (Exodus 16:16-20, but especially 25-28). They “tempted” (or, irreverently challenged) Him to see what He would do when they lacked potable water in Exodus 17:1-4.
After all this, about two or three months after deliverance from Egypt, in Exodus 19:5,6, God instructed Moses to tell Israel, “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” God is now offering to make Israel’s blessings contingent upon her performance.
Let us see what Israel will decide….