Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD. The LORD said to Moses, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you." Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said. And the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people." (Exodus 19:3-11)
Today, we are going to review how we should respond to God as we welcome His gift of "the ten" into our lives. We are going to discuss how we should prepare our hearts to receive this most important promise to become His treasure and be filled with blessings, peace and a secure future as we are restored to live in Him. You see, before the Lord offered His children the "how to's" of living a holy life, He first instructed Israel to get ready... to wash their clothes... to consecrate themselves. For this was a big deal. This was not something that would happen every day. God was about to come down and show Himself! His people would see His presence and hear Him speaking... definitely a BIG DEAL!
God wants to make sure that in advance of sharing His ten commands, that we are also ready with a seriousness of purpose and a heart of eagerness to receive Him. He wants us also to see His presence... to hear His words! So, we must show up READY and WILLING - without distraction and the sinful clutter that can so easily steer us away from His presence.
I liken it to this: Last month, my closet rod fell down because it had been overpowered with too much weight from my clothes and heavy coats. When this happened, I was forced to live with a wardrobe scattered across my bedroom, the place I reserve for rest, sleep and study. Although I knew I should dive in and get to cleaning out the clothes and hang a new rod, I didn't immediately react. For the job to sift through these items completely derailed me in spirit and caused me some emotional turmoil. It was a BIG JOB and physically a challenge for someone such as myself who deals with chronic pain due to an injury. Clearly, I was stuck at the starting line and frustrated that my place of peace was no longer... well, peaceful.
So finally, a choice had to be made. Would I "bite the bullet" and clean out my mess? Or would I live frustrated and full of excuses to properly handle the clutter that overpowered my place of retreat? Only until I decided to take the necessary steps to sort through, re-hang, and remove the pieces from my room that no longer suited me, was I able to breathe again and relax. It was a lot of work, and I had to continuously motivate myself to focus and keep only the items that fit, that I loved, that were flattering to my figure, etc. But the end result returned my room to calm and stillness and provided me a closet filled with only what was good for me to wear.
Now when I walk into my bedroom, I can breathe easy. I can relax. When I go into my closet, I am able to savor each blessing of clothing that the Lord has given me, and I can live clutter free as I go about my day. It is wonderful and quite freeing.
The same choice was true for Israel. God was telling them to declutter anything in their life that would keep them from receiving His peace. He was telling them to clean up their spiritual closet. He wanted them to receive this upcoming event very seriously. So, God told them to organize their hearts and prepare their internal sanctuary for His arrival by addressing any unconfessed sin that might block their ability to relax and fully receive Him. God was about to deposit something big, new and life changing into their lives. However, in order to accept this gift, Israel needed to audit and remove their old way of doing things... their old thoughts... their old, burdensome and unconfessed sins. They needed to pick themselves up and clean themselves off - making room for a better, more organized and beneficial way of living to be introduced into their lives.
We too must approach God's commandments with complete willingness, dedication, humility, and reverence. It is an all or nothing decision that will get to the core of our moral compass, and show how open our hearts really are to receive the leading of the Holy Spirit. Mind you, it is important that we do not become overwhelmed or defeated at the starting line when we realize all the sin that is scattered about... or when we see all the "rules" that are about to be administered by our Creator. Rather, we must come out of hiding and open up our hearts. We must "bite the bullet" and follow His divine leading while submitting our will over to His. We must be in agreement with God about the destructiveness of sin in our lives. We must admit our inability to live successfully without His headship and presence. We must allow our Redeemer to work in us and change us so that we end up wearing His holy wardrobe... showcasing His perfect figure.
We are new creatures in Him, ladies. Let's be ready to accept His law with the same attitude as David when he said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
consecrate: to dedicate solemnly to a service or goal; to give or apply one's time, attention, and self entirely toward a particular activity, pursuit, cause or person; to devote... (WOO HOO - to be The Devoted Woman!!!)
Ladies, let's not be those mentioned in Jesus' parable who hear God's call, but block Him out because we are "choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures". (See Luke 8:14) Let's not prevent ourselves from maturing and growing in holiness because we would not declutter our hearts to receive and follow His precious and nourishing words of life.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
If we truly have accepted the love that Jesus extends to us by taking on the penalty for our sin, how could we not want to prepare our hearts for His teaching? How could we not want to give over everything we have to Him? How could we not want to follow His way of doing things? For His standard to live correctly is indeed good! Why? Because He is God, and there is no clutter with God! There is no disorganization or chaos in His presence. He brings us into order! All things work together when organized and done His way. For our God understands and oversees LIFE. So, it is wise to trust Him with our own!
For those of you planning to continue this journey with me... I encourage you to come tomorrow with a confessed and clean heart. Lay down everything in prayer to Him that may hinder you from receiving God's perfect word. Give over to God any addiction and stronghold that you have and join me as we approach Mount Sinai to seek out our King's commands with a spirit of trust and readiness. Let's be prepared to see and hear Him. Let's welcome His first commandment with open arms, all the while remembering that His ways were made for our good - to give us LIFE. God wishes for us to flourish in His grace. He is the only person who holds the plans for us to prosper. He wants us to enjoy a hopeful future while glorifying His Name above all names.
Are you ready to receive His words of wisdom? Are you ready to follow His proven plan that offers complete freedom and peace in Jesus Name? I hope so. I hope you show up today (and every day that follows), with a readiness to receive and follow the Lord. He is the only WAY to find real joy and eternal happiness.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Draw Me Nearer
by Frances J. Crosby
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!
There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.
Tomorrow, we will discuss #1 of "the ten"... I hope you will come ready to face LOVE head on! WOO HOO!
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