Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Promises We Make To God -- Exodus 19:7-8

--> So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him.  And all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!”  And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.”
 
After God gives Moses the exact words he is to share with his people at the foot of the mountain, Moses rushes down and immediately calls the elders to a meeting.  There can be no hesitation to carry out the command of the Lord.  One must take time to hear God’s directions and commands, but one must not hesitate once they are given.
So Moses shares the exact words God had commanded him to share – nothing more, nothing less.  I wonder how we compare to Moses in that regard?  Do we embellish the words of God?  Do we hold some back?  Do we try to make them ‘more acceptable’ to people?  Do we even share them in any form?
Moses did, and all the people answered in one united voice, “We will do all that God has spoken (and required of us).”  Do you find that amazing?  It is almost unheard of in today’s world, especially in churches where people have as much education and status in the community as their pastor has.  But I believe it is still possible, as Henry and Richard Blackaby would suggest (in their book, Spiritual Leadership: Moving People On To God’s Agenda) if the leader hears from God, and he/she invites the people to hear from God Himself as well.  Then over time, all will indeed be on the same page.  The job of the leader is to both seek and hear God’s direction, but more importantly to help and train the members of his/her organization to hear God’s voice.  How are we doing in this regard?
So the people promise to obey God’s voice, keep His laws, and be a ‘holy’ nation.  The text is interesting at this point because from verse 7 we understand that Moses shared this with the elders, but in verse 8, we read “all the people” made the promise together.  It is not clear from scripture whether the ‘people’ here refers to all the elders, or in fact, all the people.  I would humbly suggest that it is the former, and indeed, there was likely more difficulty in getting 100% buy-in from all the ‘people’.  But regardless, the real crucial issue for you and me is to ask ourselves if we have made promises to God about our willingness to hear His voice, obey His laws, and be ‘holy’.  God says we can do all of that.  He expects it.  We often promise to do so.  But many of us fail miserably.  Is it that we were never sincere about our promises or is it that we do not stay focused on Him?  Our Loving Father continues to wait for us to do both.
This passage concludes by telling us that Moses went back to the Lord to report the answer of the people.  But I wonder why he did that.  God had not asked for a report.  God was able and did hear the response of the people.  So why might Moses have gone back to God on this?  Here are some possibilities: First, once again, God may have directed him to come up the mountain again.  We do not know.  Second, Moses was so amazed at the response of the people that he just wanted to meet with God again and thank Him for how He worked among the people to get this kind of response.  Thirdly, and perhaps as evidenced by the verses that follow, Moses knew he would need further instructions as to what to do next, or that God had more instructions to give him.  Whatever the reason, Moses realized that he could not stray far from God in order to implement the plan God had for His people.  He could not do it alone.  He needed to be close to the Source of all that had happened, was happening, and was still to happen for the Israelites.
As leaders, are you and I there?  Do we get it?  Do we understand Who matters in our leadership?  And from Whom our leadership comes?
As people, are we doing all we can to keep our promises to God? 
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