Man’s contribution from the beginning was sin, but God’s promise in spite of this rebellion was redemption. At every stage of redemption throughout all the biblical storyline, man must have faith in God. They simply must trust Him–take Him at His word–and believe that His direction and plan is in their best interest. And so, up to this point, God has been guiding humanity by dealing directly with chosen leaders (Adam, Seth, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.). However, now, a new season is on the horizon that displays how God–who is holy–will interact with mankind–who is broken and sinful. This new season of relationship and redemption will come through a set of standards (or Laws) that God will mediate through another chosen leader, Moses. These standards or Law will guide God’s chosen people–the people of Israel–until Christ appears. These standards will serve as a tutor, shadow, and be in place because of transgressions. The book of Genesis closes, the people of Israel are given the blessing of incubating in the land of Goshen, and within ~400 years, they grow to numbering in the millions. And then, the book of Exodus opens…~400 years after the book of Genesis…
This Moses was an abandoned infant (in hope), murdering fugitive, later to be a shepherd in a foreign country, who was nevertheless chosen by God to mediate His covenant for His chosen family. These people of God–now numbering in the millions–were subjected to slavery, and God heard their cry for help. And so, Moses was raised up by God in the same way that Abraham was raised up by God—simply because God chose him.
The rule of the serpent and his authority over mankind continued throughout this period, and thus the consequence of sin—death—still remained…yet to be defeated. Thus, sin spread in the lives of people, and so they needed a way to deal with their sin in order to be in a right relationship with God. Enter the Law, and Moses as God’s mediator.
Moses’ mission was given—that of liberating God’s chosen people—as well as mediating the covenant of God’s Law that will govern every facet of His chosen family’s lives. God’s requirement of His chosen family was that they were to be a kingdom of priests to the nations. In other words, God’s plan to redeem humanity would not stop with the family of Abraham, but they—as a people who had just been rescued—were given the privelege of displaying—as conduits of God’s blessings—the justice, mercy, and rule of God to all the nations of the earth. The nations could deal with their sin by coming through this new set of Laws as mediated by Moses. Thus, the chosen family’s call and purpose was a responsibility of utmost importance—to be a kingdom of priests to the nations—and Moses was the mouthpiece God chose to deliver this Law. In essence, as God’s people lived in obedience to the Law God gave through Moses, they would be blessed and would dispense the blessing of God to the nations. As part of the Law, the great blessing that these people would dispense would be the atoning sacrifice for sins—a temporary restoration of fellowship with God (Leviticus 16-17). This sacrifice for sins was performed through another chosen person within the same tribe as Moses, the tribe of Levi. This was called the high priestly line that came through Moses’ brother, Aaron. He would offer a goat’s life and blood as a sacrifice and substitute for the sins of the people. This act was an atoning act whereby instead of the people dying for their sins, an animal would die in their place (and its blood would be sprinkled on the mercy seat on the top of the Ark of the Covenant), and God would forgive their sins for that year. Thus, this act was performed annually until the Seed of Woman would arrive roughly 1,600 years later. Additionally, as part of the atoning sacrifice, the high priest would release a goat to the wilderness to take their sins away from the camp. The shedding of the blood of one for another would be the copy of the ultimate sacrifice God would make by offering His Son, Jesus, in order to pay for the sin’s of His people. In the meantime, God gave the Law to guide humanity in their journey until the promised One arrived.
Ultimately, the people of God that Moses initially gave the Law to did not enter the land promised to Abraham and his family, but instead it was provided to the next generation after them. The first generation that received the Law failed to trust God (Numbers), and thus were subjected to wandering in the desert for 40 years until they died off. However, Moses was able to speak to the next generation before he died (Deuteronomy), and he instructed them to Listen to God (obey) and to Love God (fully devoted). The sin problem remained, and the people would not listen to nor love God. Moses knew this and that they would fail, and so he made the statement that only those who have a circumcised heart would be able to Love and Listen to God. Nevertheless, Moses was used by God to dispense to God’s chosen people—Abraham’s family—the Law or guide on how to live their lives displaying as conduits and a kingdom of priests the justice, righteousness, mercy, grace, and love of God to all people.
After the next generation entered the land promised to Abraham and his family, they too failed and chased after other gods—just as Moses predicted—because their hearts were not circumcised. They were riddled with the same sin problem that came upon all of humanity the moment after Adam and Eve sinned. Their sin was that they followed after the gods of the other nations, and as a result they suffered hardship until God heard their cry of repentance. And so, every time God’s people cried for help, He would raise up a Judge to guide the people in His Law. Essentially, God placed them in a land where they would have to depend upon Him for material abundance and provision–this would come through their obedience to God’s Law. Their trust was to be in God, not any thing or any one else. And so, God would intervene in nature and His creation: as they disobeyed His Law, they would face droughts and famines, but as they obeyed His Law, they would receive blessing and abundance of rain and crop and children.
However, God’s chosen family continued to rebel against Him until they once again cried out–only this time for a king like the pagan nations. God’s answer to them was Saul–a king like the pagan nations–who became the example of sin, pride, and disobedience to God’s Law. Nevertheless, God had previously made a promise to Abraham that kings would come from him, and ultimately the King of kings. Thus, God’s promises hold, and His unfolding provision for redeeming His humanity came after the death of Saul—the sinful people’s choice of a king—and the rise of another king who was after the heart of God. This king, David, was the example of how the ultimate King will establish His rule over both heaven and earth, as well as redeem His rebellious humanity. In the meantime, king David was installed as the Israelite king, and he pointed the way to the King of kings by receiving the promise that through his house (David’s) will the King of kings come.
What a glorious story of how God unfolds His plan of redemption in history despite man’s rebellion and sin. Glory!— May 26, 2017