“Moses the Mediator of God’s Will1
These words the Lord spoke with a loud voice to your whole assembly at the mountain, out of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, and he added no more. He wrote them on two stone tablets, and gave them to me. When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you approached me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders; and you said, “Look, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the fire. Today we have seen that God may speak to someone and the person may still live. So now why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer, we shall die. For who is there of all flesh that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and remained alive? Go near, you yourself, and hear all that the Lord our God will say. Then tell us everything that the Lord our God tells you, and we will listen and do it.”
The Lord heard your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me: “I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you; they are right in all that they have spoken. If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children forever! Go say to them, ‘Return to your tents.’ But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you all the commandments, the statutes and the ordinances, that you shall teach them, so that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.” You must therefore be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn to the right or to the left. You must follow exactly the path that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you are to possess.
The Great Commandment
Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Where are we going?
It is part of human nature to want to know where we are going? We do not like to be picked up by the scruff of our neck and dragged away without consent.
We want to know where we are going and we want to feel some measure of control of the journey there. That means we are going to need to know something about how to get there. We may not need to know every turn and every landmark, but we want to know some basic info like:
- Are we walking, driving, flying…?
- How long will it take to get there?
- How long will we stay? and When will we come back here?
As we begin to gather that information, we will quickly start to question Who should lead this adventure? Generally, we do not choose a travel leader based upon good looks or public speaking ability. We choose them based on whoever has actually been to this place before. If no one has been to this place we are going, we generally defer to the person who has traveled the closest or traveled the most in general. We don’t need a fancy show… we need someone with experience. I think it was no accident that God led Moses to become a shepherd in the wilderness of Sinai for years before He sent Moses to bring the people through that wilderness, to the Promised Land.
If you get the right leader, they can also answer the last question as well: What should we expect? This is where we get to the core of our needs. We feel control over our lives when our expectations are met. We feel out of control when they are not. We want a list as long as our need to feel in control of the situation. (You may notice that Moses only seemed to struggle with unruly Hebrews when their expectations were not met on the way to the Promised Land) However, there are other question that may be even more important to answer.
Will it make a difference in us?
What can we expect when we finally got to where we are going? What are we going to do there? There are four different types of people who travel, and we will have different expectations depending upon what type of person we are.
First, there are Tourists. Tourists are only around for a short time and plan to come and be educated and receive the experience of being in a new place. They plan to be changed by the experience, but not to change the place they visit. They typically need to bring or pay for all of their needs while traveling.
Next are Colonizers. These are people who intend to permanently relocate and reshape their new home into the form (or as close as they can come) of their former home. The Hebrew people were not Colonizers for Egypt because they did not make the Promised Land look like Egypt. However, they were colonizers in the sense that they actively removed the Canaanite influence in the area and instilled the new form of community that God instructed them.
The next group are Settlers. Settlers are related to Colonizers, and semantically may as well be identical, but they usually follow Pioneers and find new ways to live in a new place. Oftentimes, settlers do not remove the former inhabitants, but simply move in next to them and forge a new community with them. The Hebrew people ultimately became settlers because they did not completely eliminate the Canaanite influence (although they were commanded to do so).
The final group are Refugees. Refugees move into a new place, often not entirely by choice, and are forced to adapt to the community around them. They have little control over their environment, and often have to change themselves greatly to survive. If you can imagine going to prison, that would probably be a similar feeling to becoming a refugee.
So what are we?
I think of the above choices, we begin as refugees in the Kingdom of God. It is not a democracy. We do not get to vote on the Ten Commandments. We either accept Christ’s Lordship over us, or we are expelled from the Kingdom. However, it is not God’s will that we remain refugees in the Kingdom of God. He wants us to adopt all the Kingdom values and truly become a part. As we change ourselves, with God’s grace and help, we become settlers and finally full citizens of God’s Kingdom.
It is not an easy process though. Paul wrote to the churches that they were being made into new creations, which would mean new expectations. There would be confusion and disappointment before reaching their destination. We may not recognize ourselves once we get there.
Which type of traveler do you feel like in God’s Kingdom?
As you continue on your journey, what questions do you have?
- (Ex 20:18–21) ↩