From the Seminar,Walking in the Light of Pentecost
Because the Lord redeemed he had the right to rule, but the more profound biblical truth is that the Lord redeemed in order to rule.
In fact, it is on the occasion of the Exodus from Egypt that we have the first mention in Scripture of the Kingdom of God; a theme which then pervades all of Scripture, right until the final chapter of the book of Revelation.
God's supernatural ruling and reigning first exhibits itself in the Exodus. There you have tangible, visible evidence of his kingly sovereign power intervening supernaturally for his people. That is why when they come up from the Red Sea, Moses and Miriam give ecstatic prophetic utterance unto God and declare in Ex 15:18, "The Lord reigns forever and ever!"
They were not saying that he is going to be king in the future rather, he is the king, he is ruling and reigning, and we have just seen evidence of this in his deliverance of us from the bondage of Egypt, and the protection of us from the pursuing Egyptian soldiers. In Ex 19:4-6, God states what his objective is for his redeemed people. Here Israel is called simply a nation. But because of God's redemptive and ruling power, Israel is not going to be just an ordinary nation, it is going to be a nation that is distinct from all the other nations. God is the Creator and ruler of the whole world, and all nations are his.
But he, by his elective choice, took this nation (which in some respects was the least of nations) and says, I am going to make you different, distinctive, in fact, you are going to be the bearers of my image. You are going to be a holy nation, just as I am a holy God. That, in fact, is why I brought you to this place. I redeemed you because I want to rule over you: and in ruling over you, you will be a blessing to all the nations.
Israel was not elected for special privileges, it was commissioned for special service and the service was to be unto God and unto the earth.
The language that God uses here and nowhere else in the Old Testament is "a kingdom of priests." The priest was first and foremost called to serve God, to be a servant—or in New Testament terminology a "minister unto the Lord."
A priest, among other things, was empowered to bless, was commanded to teach, to judge and to bear witness. So God says, I have saved you because I have a service I want you to render. I want you to become a nation unto me that is set apart from all other nations, one that is distinct. I want you to bear my image, and I want you to serve me and bless the other nations through me.
In order to accomplish his purpose for bringing them to Sinai, God came down and became a teacher to them (Ex 19:16-19). Israel's sages say that the noblest calling of all is to be a teacher of Torah because that is the closest you can get to imitating God. Why? Because the Holy One became a teacher to Israel, he gave her guidance, direction, and instruction.
This whole Exodus 19 passage is absolutely extraordinary to read in Hebrew, what is being said here is very, very striking. In this dramatic setting—which is easily lost in this narrative text—these are strong statements. The whole mountain trembled violently, the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Now notice Exodus 20:1-2,
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."
He proceeds to give his people what is called in Hebrew, "the Ten Words"; what we call the Ten Commandments. All of Israel hears God speak.
According to a Jewish Midrash, not only Israel but all the nations heard these words.
The sages say a great silence fell upon the earth when God descended with fire and glory upon Mount Sinai. The whole earth stood silent because the Creator of heaven and earth was about to speak. They go on to say that when the voice of God went forth it supernaturally divided into seventy languages so that everyone could hear in their native tongue that "I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD." And then he speaks these Ten Words—which is one reason why they are considered universally binding.
This devotional study is from a professionally produced transcription of Dwight's audio message. It is a full and accurate transcript, formalized and edited for readability and clarity by JC Studies.