Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Moses on Mountain, Jesus on the Mountain

We are exploring Jesus in the Old Testament.  I want you to consider how Jesus, like Moses, brings the Law from the mountain.  This is the New Covenant, one of forgiveness of sin and the cleansing of our conscience.  

What is interesting is Matthew, under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, sensed the parallel between Moses and Jesus.  The difference is, when Moses came down from the mountain, his face aglow, with God's decrees, the people were not allowed to go up the mountain.  Jesus went up the mountain and brought God down to us, allowing us to commune with the Lord Almighty.  

But He would have one more mountain to ascend, and that mountain, Calvary, would forever change our standing with God:  We now can, through the blood of the Son, come boldly to the throne of grace.  

So, enjoy the interplay between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, as I juxtapose Exodus 19 and 20 with Matthew 5 & 8.  (I will add in my thoughts as well.) 

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 descendants 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.”

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.

The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”

Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”

The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”

So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.  
(The new Moses goes up to bring God down.  But He is not enclosed in fire and smoke.  He is sitting right in front of them.)

And God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  
(Recognize the great things God has done for you and know, that although you wander in life's desert, you are children of the Almighty.  Rely not on yourself, but only on Him.  That is true worship.) 

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  
(Life will astound you at times.  You will tempted to reach for what you can see for comfort.  But if you bow to the Unseen, with a sincere heart, your children will see you and will remember the faith of the one who called only on the name of the Lord.  Faith begets faith, but idolatry begets idolatry. God's love is fierce and we need to demonstrate that with loyalty to Him.) 

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 
(Meekness is not weakness--it is grace under pressure.  How do we sustain that grace?  Only by calling on His name in love and commitment to Him, not shouting His name out as a curse or hiding behind it with no faith in Who He is.)

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 
(Jesus is our Rest.  He has accomplished all His Father requested that He do and now He sits at the right hand of the Father.  We, too, need to enter that rest.  By sitting at the banquet table of His love and provision, only then can we satisfy our hunger and slake our thirst.  He alone is our Bread and Living Water.  Suddenly, our desert has hope and we are strengthened to bring that hope to others.) 

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
You shall not murder.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  
(Honor extends to all our relationships, and upholds the dignity of another.  Our parents, as we come to realize, are all-too-human, and need mercy and grace, just as we do.  We cannot then engage in such anger and unforgiveness in our hearts that we "murder" them.  Hatred begets hatred.  Mercy is the antidote for the poison of a bruised childhood or the suffering of terrible wrongs.  If we extend mercy, we are then given mercy from the hands of the One Who bears the scars.)

You shall not commit adultery.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  
(Love is utter devotion to the beloved.  Love sees what the person is:  a child of God.  It also sees what the person can be:  the hands and feet of Christ.  So, lusting after others is a way of saying, "You are not good enough, nor ever will be."  Lusting after the things of this world is saying to God, "You are not good enough, nor ever will be."  When we love with Christ's love, we see others as He sees them.  When we love God with Christ's love, we desire only Him.  Soon, we see only Him.) 

You shall not steal.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  
(There are many thieves in this world whose sole purpose is to kill, lie and destroy.  The greatest theft of all by the roaring lion, the prince of this world, is our peace:  peace within ourselves, between us and God, and between us and others.  When we enter into the ministry of reconciliation, we are modelling the reconciliation that we have already experienced between us and God because of Christ.  Stolen peace is restored when His children walk in His love.  His children reflect Him the best when they bring peace to a world agonizing under chaos and sin.)

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 
(Lies, pure and simple, destroy.  Why?  Because they ignite anger and self-righteousness, and dehumanize the object--the accused--of wrath.  Jesus suffered under accusations of all sorts.  We will not walk without lies being thrown our way.  We are only to speak and act in truth laden with love. Let the world see only Jesus in us and if it then hurls lies at us, so be it. Our crown of thorns will be replaced by a crown of gold in His kingdom.)

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Our reward is not the goodies of this world.  Our reward comes from being a good and faithful servant.  We need not desire the world's offerings, for the world giveth and the world taketh away. We should desire only eternal possessions: a forgiven heart, a right standing with God, and the peace that passes all understanding.  Prophets spoke what God told them to.  Jesus only spoke and did what His Father told Him to do.  We can do no less, but we will gain all the more!)  

When Jesus left the mountain, He walked among the people, full of grace and truth.  As He lives His life in us, we should no less.  Blessings on you today!





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