Learning from God's Word: Exodus 21-30
Our obedience to God is to take shape within the varied circumstances of everyday life. At the heart of our obedience, there is to be compassion. Our compassion is to be an expression of God’s compassion (22:21, 28; 23:9). At the heart of our obedience, there is to be worship (23:14). Taking compassion and worship together, we come to the very heart of our obedience to God. It is not compassion without worship. It is not worship without compassion. The spiritual and the social belong together. We need spiritual foundations leading to social effects. The social does not stand on its own. There needs to be spiritual depth. The ‘spiritual’ does not stand on its own. It is empty formality if it does not lead to a change in our way of living from day to day.
‘The glory of the Lord’ (24:16-17) – God is to be glorified in all that we do. Symbolic of God’s glory is the frequent reference to ‘gold’ or ‘pure gold’. God’s glory is to shine brightly among God’s people. If God is to be glorified among us, if our lives are to be like ‘pure gold’, we must be like ‘pure virgin olive oil’, keeping our ‘lamps’ burning for Him (27:20-21).
God will not be glorified if we are not looking to Him to keep our lamps burning for Him – ‘Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning’, ‘Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father’s glory. Blaze, Spirit, blaze. Set our hearts on fire.’
The blessing we read about here is not simply for those who are already God’s people. It is also for those who will be reached for Christ and won for Him as the Lord’s people rise to the challenge of carrying Christ to ‘this land’ and to ‘the nations.’
In all our worship and in all of life, we are to be ‘holy to the Lord’ (28:36). Holiness lies at the heart of God’s instructions to His people. God speaks of the special blessing of His ‘presence’ at ‘the tent of meeting’ – ‘My glory will make this place holy’ (29:42-43).
The holiness of God is full of love. He lives among His people as the God of redemption: ‘I brought them out of Egypt so that I might live among them’ (29:45-46). In the Lord’s presence, there is grace – ‘in the Lord’s presence … the sins in their lives are removed’ (30:16). This redemption is given to us by the grace of God. We are assured of God’s salvation through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This assurance must never lead to arrogant presumption. We must never take God’s grace for granted. We are to pray for an ongoing experience of God’s grace. It is through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that we ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 3:18). We must never presume upon the continued blessing of the Holy Spirit. We look to God for grace, never forgetting this: ‘Holy to the Lord’ (30:37).