Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient.” And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.” (Exodus 24:7-8)
We Will Obey
Shortly after escaping the bondage of Egypt, the Hebrews came to Mount Sinai where God delivered the law making them the nation of Israel. The instructions were given to construct the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting where the Lord would commune with His people. Various laws were established, including Sabbaths, annual feasts, and interpersonal regulations regarding the relationship of the people to God and one another. The Law of Moses was formed at Sinai to make Israel a holy nation among all nations. Moses told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments which the Lord had commanded. The laws were carefully written down for the people to read and understand the will of God.
Moses built an altar at the foot of Sinai and set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Peace offerings were given to the Lord as Moses sprinkled the blood against the altar. Taking the Book of the Covenant, Moses read all the words to the people to assure the truth was spoken in the people’s hearing. The people responded with a commitment to obey everything the Lord commanded them. It was a bold statement and, while made in great faith, did not ring true with a heart full of devotion. Soon after the people affirmed the covenant, they turned away and worshiped a golden calf.
The Lord had commanded Moses to come up into His presence on the mountain. While Moses delayed coming down, the people grew restless and implored Aaron to make them gods to go before them. Bowing to their demands, Aaron fashioned a molded calf and built an altar proclaiming the next day would be a day of feasting to the Lord. Three thousand men of the people would be killed as they rebelled against the word of the Lord, refusing to repent. The Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.
It is easy to say one will obey the word of the Lord but faith is found in obedience, not just words. Israel heard the words of the Lord. The word of the Lord was not hidden from them, so they could not understand. Moses read the law to the people to make sure they knew what God expected of them. The people said they would obey all that the Lord had told them to do and they would be obedient. When a time of crisis arose, the heart of the people failed. Moses had been on the mountain for a long and a spirit of hopelessness arose. The Hebrews had seen the incredible power of God in the plagues, dividing of the Red Sea and their victory over the Amalekites. They affirmed they would keep the word of the Lord. Because of their uncertainty of Moses, their hearts turned away.
Obedience is more than promised words. Faith comes from hearing the word of God, but if the heart does not act on the word of God, there is no faith. Israel promised to obey and failed in the enactment of that faith. When a man follows the gospel of Christ, he makes a promise that he believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That commitment is a promise to obey the word of the Father. For some, that is the end of the act of faith. There is no commitment, obedience, loyalty, or evidence of fidelity. Many Christians live mediocre lives with a professed faith without works. They have promised to obey all that God has said and seldom scratch the surface.
Jesus is not looking for seasonal soldiers but committed warriors to the cause of the Kingdom. This requires a complete allegiance to the will of the Father in word and deed. James writes that faith without works is dead. Saying one is a Christian and not living like a Christian is a failed life. To affirm a covenant with God and not live up to the standards is rebellion. True faith comes from hearts that are changed by the word of God into new creatures. Affirm the covenant and then live the covenant. Do not let the golden calves of materialism, pleasure, sensuality, and self-indulgence turn the heart away from the one true God. If you promise it – LIVE IT.