“Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.” Exodus 19:5

God calls out to the Israelites. He invites them into an intimate relationship. Setting them apart from all others as His special treasure. They will hold this position in His heart if they obey Him and keep his covenant.

They answer back, “Yes! All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

The story that unfolds after their declaration includes every possible human example of making a promise and trying to keep it. Some will remain devoted, many will struggle with their commitment, some will wander, some will stray and some will rebel in great defiance.

If you, like me, have ever intentionally worked on “keeping your word”, you know what this struggle is like. You’ve agreed to do something for a friend. When the day comes for you to do your part, you may not feel up to it. Maybe the weather is unpleasant, maybe you have received another offer that is better. Decision time. Do you break your commitment or do you do that thing you said you would do – and keep your word? These decision point moments in our journeys create our character and build our relationships with others.

My 58 year old track record includes all possible outcomes. Keeping my commitments, struggling with my commitments and breaking my commitments.

Thankfully, in our relationship with God, He is faithful to His word. He continues to call out to us and has also made a provision of grace that covers us when we fail.

“You will be my treasure,” says God, “when you obey me.”

On Eagle’s Wings

Moses left the camp at the foot of Mount Sinai, and climbed up into the mountain to talk to God. This was a familiar landscape for Moses. I imagine he headed towards the location of the burning bush, where he first met God. The holy ground where his life changed forever. The place where God assigned him the mission to go back to Egypt and bring the Israelites out of slavery and back to this mountain.

At some point in Moses’s journey up the mountain, God calls out to him, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:

“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” Exodus 19:4

God begins his message with a strong statement of what he has just done for the Israelites. He describes it as having bore them up on Eagle’s wings to bring them back to Himself. He doesn’t mention the tactics and miracles he performed; the 10 plagues, the Passover, or the parting of the Red Sea. Instead, he gets to the heart of the matter. He describes the intention of his actions. He gathered them up and brought them home to Himself.

You are here with me, says God, because I carried you here.

As I write this, I wonder if Jesus will say something similar to each of us.

I bore you up on eagle’s wings and carried you home to me.

Set the Stage

When my husband asks me how my day was, I get right to the point and give him my update in a bullet-point fashion.  Just the bare facts and the meat of the matter.

Sometimes he stops me mid-bullet and asks me to go back to the beginning and add more context, to set the stage and tell a better story.  What happened before the bullet list?  Who else was there?   What lead up to the moment?  What happened after? How were you feeling?  What did you see?  He wants a more colorful painting of my day.  I sigh and try to get my mind to slow down.  

I’m at the beginning of my next blogging topic. I noticed that Icame at it in high gear, rushing to the bullet points. My mind, like a laser, reaching for the heart of the matter.  To challenge myself, I pushed pause and rewound the tape.  Let’s start this journey back a few steps and set the stage.  

Early in February, I began thinking about the TenCommandments and wondered what it would be like to study them for the balance of the year.  Is there enough content?  What do I know about them?  What am I curious about?  I began reading and re-reading the story, slowing down to appreciate the stage that was so beautifully set by God and Moses as God calls Moses into their next adventure.

On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt – on that very day – they came to the desert of Sinai.(Ex 19:1 NIV). They set up a new campsite at the foot of Mount Sinai.

It’s been a while since I’ve been camping and even longer since I was two months and one day into a new journey.  A journey where every day felt awkward, exciting, frightening, steeped in uncertainty.  I do remember the times where my life journey took an unexpected turn and I was faced with uncertainty, I remember exactly how I felt.  I was jumpy, nervous, uneasy and waiting to be surprised.  I longed for control, for my comfort zone, for a day I could manage my surroundings and predicthow the day would unfold.  I’m guessing some of the Israelites felt this same way.

As they looked up at Mount Sinai, I am sure it was a new type of scenery for most of them.  The intimidation of a mountain, majestic and unmovable.  I remember feeling powerless when I stood at the base of the Cheyenne Mountain.  I stared at it for a long time, sensing its weight and unmovable girth.  It felt like a force to be reckoned with. 

On the first day of their third month of freedom, I imagine the Israelites were steeped in uncertainty, a little edgy and also excited.  They were taking in their new scenery with heightened senses.  They were probably hearing every cricket, every howl, every new bird song as they settled in to their tent on that first night. 

The stage is set….