Monday, 7 February 2011

The Marriage of Promise

Observations on Exodus 19-20

Having ransomed the people out of Egypt. God will prophetically perform a marriage ceremony where through the giving of the law, the Father will bind himself and the Son - the great Angel of the Covenant - to the people. (Ezekiel 16 is useful to help frame this chapter). The Father will come down and officiate the ceremony. Moses - the priest-king of Israel will represent that to the people.

The people are told to consecrate themselves - wash themselves and abstain from marital bliss as a sign that earthly marriage is temporary, the heavenly marriage of Christ to his people will be forever. But as with all Old Testament imagery, there is distance. Here the fire of God will consume them if they get too close rather than consummate them as it will on the day of Pentecost.

The marriage ceremony begins with the words "I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. That brief statement should not be overlooked. The 10 commandments / covenant promises declared after that are all on the basis of God's gracious initiation. They reveal God's character that will be reflected by his people i.e. God says I do not lie, so you as my people shall not lie either etc etc. They are the kinds of character traits he will give to his people when he comes to live in them by the Spirit. For now they must be diligently kept in a lovingly legal fashion. Obedience to the commandments of God is the way that God's people respond to his gracious initiation, woo his heart and show him they want him to draw near in love.

For more on why altars were to be made of uncut stones, click here.

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