Wednesday, January 22, 2014
“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.
After JEHOVAH had delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, He led them to Mount Sinai. En route, He conducted a series of three tests to evaluate Israel’s obedience (see Exodus chapters 15-17). Israel failed all three tests! They thrice-demonstrated that they, as sons and daughters of Adam, could not obey Him.
Later, 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.” Notice this statement is conditional—“if… then.” This is legalism, the roots of the only religion God ever gave. Israel can only be God’s people if she follows His rules—ALL of His rules.
When God offered to make Israel’s blessings from Him dependent upon their performance (Exodus 19:5,6), verse 8 says: “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.” Israel sealed her terrible fate by agreeing to become God’s people based on her efforts (a failure right from the start!!). (They should have replied, “Lord, Thou knowest we cannot do it. We have already proven three times we cannot obey Thou. Thou hast promised to make us Thy people based on Thy work, not our performance.”)
Nearly 500 years earlier, God had promised to make Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s descendants His people, His special nation in the earth (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:1-8,19; Genesis 28:13-15; et cetera). Israel’s establishment and prosperity would be completely reliant upon God’s work and efforts. Israel simply had to let Him make them the people He had created them to be. Alas, the Jews lapsed into believing the deceitful, sinful heart of man.
So, Israel chose religion, and her performance-based acceptance system before God was now in effect….