Ex. 19:5- "Now therefore; if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you will be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is mine."
The gods the ancient pagans believed in were demanding; they had a constant need to be appeased. These gods had no mercy on those who did not comply with their demands. Nor did they promise good to those who worshiped them. Not so the God of Israel, the only true God. This is the God who spoke to Moses and rescued Moses' people out of slavery. God expected total obedience from Israel. Yet God also promised good to those who obeyed Him. God promised that the people of Israel would be His own special people; they would have a unique relationship to the Father. A mark of this special relationship was that Israel was to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex. 19:6). In the ancient world, true worship of the living God took place in Israel, and the only pathway to a genuine relationship to God was to become one God's covenant people. This was by God's decree, but this decree was also an integral part of God's promise. The ancient gods demanded obedience for no other reason but that they should be obeyed. God demanded obedience from Israel, but that obedience was to be in response to what God had done for His people. "You have seen what I did for the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself." (Ex. 19:5). Before God demanded obedience, He acted in Israel's behalf. God wanted Israel's obedience to be a loving response to God's deliverance of His people out of slavery as well as His protection and provision of them on their journey through the desert. God didn't want their obedience to be based solely on fear. We cannot obey God until He delivers us from the kingdom of darkness and places us into His kingdom: "He has delivered us from the powers of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love..." (Col. 1:13). But now that God has done this for all who repent and believe in Him, our response should be one of total obedience. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1Jn. 4:19). "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments..." (1Jn. 5:3). Our love of God is shown through obedience. And our obedience is in response to God loving us and rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness. The difference between God and other false gods worshiped today is just as radical. And this should make our worship of Him all the more reverent.
All scripture passages quoted from the NKJV.
(This is the last post in the Monday Morning Devotions series. The purpose of these articles, besides uplifting Jesus Christ, is to present first impressions of various verses from scripture which could later be developed into sermons. Devotional pieces will continue to appear here, but not in the same format.)