Exodus 19:4-6 A Kingdom of Priests
Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 7, 2012
Exodus 19:4-6 KJV Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (5) Now therefore, 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: (6) And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
This may be one of the saddest stories in the Bible. I don’t know why it is not taught as often as it should be. As a new believer I think this could be one of the most important points to focus on, God telling Israel His reason for taking them out of Egypt. It wasn’t to allow them to carry on any way they wished. It wasn’t so they could leave slavery, go out into the world to learn from and live like the rest of the world. They were supposed to be a treasure. God offered them the opportunity to be a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. Did they accept the responsibility?
The beginning of this chapter sets the exact time and location.
Exodus 19:1-3 NLTse Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. (2) After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai. (3) Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel:
Israel left Egypt for only sixty days. During that time God was testing them, giving them confidence, and trying to teach them lessons to prepare them for the offer to become a kingdom of priests. What happened? Do we see the same misunderstanding today?
God gave the head of the household specific instructions for the Passover. The man of the house was to perform the rights of the priest of the home. This was necessary to save their first born sons. This also restored the role of priest to every husband in Israel.
After leaving, they came to the Red Sea where they faced a major trial. Instead of remembering what God did for them in Egypt, they asked Moses why God brought them there to die instead of leaving them in Egypt where they were ordered to throw all of their new born sons into the Nile River. How could they forget all the babies Egypt condemned? Were their lives more important than their own sons? Kind of makes me wonder why God chose them to be priests. What is the lesson in that?
After the Red Sea, they realized they are running out of food and once again complained. To solve the problem God sent quail and manna along with instructions to gather only enough for one day. Expect on the sixth day to gather twice as much. Of course some had to test God. During the first to fifth day the left over manna would spoil, but the manna gathered on the sixth day would last through the Sabbath.
Soon after that, they began to run out of water. Instead of praying and showing a bit of faith in God, they demanded water and complained. It was a cycle that quickly became a part of their nature. Here they are, led by God in a pillar of fire at night and a cloud during the day. God’s presence was always with them. Did they appreciate it? Where would their complaining get them in Egypt? Did they forget two months ago they were slaves? Did they forget God showed He was far greater than Pharaoh? Wasn’t that the point of all those plagues? Did they think the lessons were for Pharaoh to learn and God was like a magic spirit to grant their every wish?
After all the complaining, God still calls them His treasure and tells them His plans to make them a kingdom of priests. But first, God shows His presence. He calls Israel to His mountain where He gives tells them a set of simple rules, ten commandments. What was their response?
Exodus 20:19 NLTse And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”
They turned down God’s offer for what they thought was a better plan. WHAT was going through their heads? What were they thinking? After everything God did for them, He tells them His plan and they turn down the God of the universe.
Looking at this situation in the proper context helps me to see a few lessons Jesus taught in a whole new light.
Matthew 23:37 KJV O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Do you think the prophets they killed also included themselves? It is a possibility when you remember the fact Jesus came to restore God’s original plan of making everyone priests. When I look at how the sentence is arranged, it appears to be two instances in Matthew 23:37. You that killed the prophets, AND stoned them which are sent to you. The role of a prophet and priest are similar. They both point people back to God. The promise Jesus gave to gather them under His wings is the same given to Moses and Israel when God took them out of Egypt on eagles’ wings. They left the bondage of Egypt but refused to leave the bondage of sin.
God called them His treasure.
Matthew 6:21 KJV For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Is Jesus telling us where God’s heart is, or where our hearts should be? Or both? If we don’t have a meeting of the heart with God, what kind of a relationship is it? I hear a lot of people saying, “God is number one in my life.” They say they, “love God,” but where do they turn when trials come up? Back to Egypt, the land of sin, the world? Often times they run away from people they feel are too deep into God. They find their own comfort level between God and the world. Is it possible to build up two treasures? Where should our treasure be?
Matthew 19:21 KJV Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Luke 12:33 KJV Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
Our treasure belongs in Heaven. What kind of treasure is it? We know it is not money. What has Jesus given us to store up in Heaven?
Mark 4:11 KJV And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
How do you become a priest or prophet for God? One of the main qualifications is knowing the message God gave to share with the world. Jesus tells us the information is given in parables to those who do not understand? Does this show us the role of the priest and prophet is to teach people how to understand parables?
What was God offering Israel when He told them His plan was to make them a kingdom of priests? Think of God’s timing in this statement. Israel was two months into their journey to the promised land. Would the journey have been shorter if they accepted God’s offer? We are told their doubts sent them back to the wilderness to wander forty years. If they accepted God’s invitation, would they have learned the knowledge necessary to not only become priests, but accept God’s protection the first time they stood on the border of the promised land? How would these considerations apply through our walk through the wilderness we face? This is a real consideration. Jesus came in person to give God’s followers another chance to accept the offer given two months after leaving Egypt.
Mark 6:2 KJV And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Like it or not, Jesus came to place the role of the priest where it belongs, with everyone willing to leave the slavery of sin to begin a journey to the spiritual promised land. Jesus began teaching God’s law the way it was intended to be taught. He also began explaining the prophecies He came to fulfill. Jesus also come to reestablish the direct connection with God lost long ago. Jesus made it clear where and how we learn about the mystery of the kingdom of God.
John 3:27 KJV John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
John 17:7-8 KJV Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. (8) For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
The main thing we need to remember is, patience is a gift from God. It took some time for Jesus’ disciples to understand what Jesus taught, the message He gave them to teach. It took Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, and more. It took another forty days learning at the feet of Jesus, then finally, a personal meeting with the Holy Spirit. Once they understood where the message comes from, and how to explain it, the disciples dedicated their lives to God’s plan of salvation. Peter understood the message.
1 Peter 2:9 KJV But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: