Friday, July 08, 2011

Worship and the Exodus: Understanding Who God Is

Third Quarter 2011 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Worship and the Exodus:  Understanding Who God Is”
For the week of July 3 – 9, 2011
(PDF Link)
The memory text tells us of Who God isas well as what He has done to deserve our worship and praise.  Exodus 2:20 can rightly be called the preamble of the Ten Commandments.  Here the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage symbolizes the deliverance of humanity from the bondage of sin through God’s Son.   
“Therefore by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18).
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
In verse 3 of Exodus 20 God declares to His children that they should have no other gods before Him.  This Commandment, given in love was also a warning against the danger of losing sight of Him as their sole life Source of care, provision, and protection from the lies of the serpent.
Moses beheld a burning bush that was not consumed.  He heard the voice calling him by name and then telling him to remove his sandals for the holiness of that place.  Moses was afraid to look upon God.  There was a sense of awe and reverence in the mind of Moses that brought forth a worshipful respect of the One speaking to him.  We know that it was Jesus, the Son of the Almighty Father, that spoke to Moses from that burning bush.  Jesus is also known as Michael (he who is like God).  In the blazing glory of Divinity the Son of God appeared to Moses.  After God informed Moses of his purpose to make him the instrument through which God would deliver His people, Moses asked God for His name.  God replied “I AM WHO I AM,” and also mentioned the fact that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  This was said to give His people relational assurance of His true identity as their Deliverer.
AT Jones makes an interesting statement regarding Jesus appearing to both angels and men prior to His incarnation through Mary:  “Christ is the one through whom the Father is reflected to the whole universe.  He alone could reflect the Father in His fullness, because His goings forth have been from the days of eternity…He was one of God, equal with God and His nature is the nature of God. Therefore one grand necessity that He alone should come to the world and save man was because the Father wanted to manifest Himself fully to the sons of men, and none in the universe could manifest the Father in His fullness except the only begotten Son, who is in the image of the Father.…In Christ God is manifested to the angels and reflected to men in the world in a way in which they cannot see God otherwise” (A. T. Jones, General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 27, 1895, page 378).
Again AT Jones writes:  “Study the process.  There is the Father, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, of such transcendent glory, of such all-consuming brightness of holiness, that no man could look upon Him and live.  But the Father wants us to look upon Him and live.  Therefore the only begotten of the Father yielded Himself freely as the gift and became ourselves in human flesh that the Father in Him might so veil His consuming glory and the rays of His brightness, that we might look and live.  And when we look there and live, that bright, shining glory from the face of Jesus Christ shines into our hearts and is reflected to the world” (A. T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin, March 4, 1895  page 449).
The Son of God alone could represent His Father to any of the created intelligences of the universe.  In His infinite wisdom, God thus is revealed to sinful men so that they can behold Him and live.  Moses, a sinner like the rest of humankind descended from Adam, needed this “veil” as it were to look upon God in Christ and live.  Beholding this veiled glory brought forth the genuine response of worship that Moses displayed towards God.  It was this veiled form of God our Father, that also was shown to Moses when he asked Him to show him His glory.  So great was even this veiled glory through the pre-incarnate Son of God (Michael) that Moses in his fallen sinful nature was only permitted to see the Son of God’s “hind parts” in order to remain alive! (Exodus 33:18-23)
In I Corinthians 10:1-4 Paul expressed again the type of deliverance from sin that the Exodus represented.  Through the symbolism of being covered by the cloud (Christ’s righteousness), passing through the Red sea (baptism through the waters) and then arriving safely on dry land to eat and drink of that same spiritual Rock.  That Rock was Christ.  His Righteousness is again symbolized by the bread of life – manna that soon thereafter fell from heaven (Exodus 16:15).
The worship of the golden calf represents any false worship that the devil has caused self-centered minds to display.  If only we remember to focus continuously upon the wondrous Gift of Christ and His righteousness we would be less inclined to worship gods who are no gods at all.  We would be empowered to worship the True God and His Son in Spirit and in Truth. 
Ellen White once wrote that John 17 should be the “creed” of the Seventh-day Adventist church.  In verse 3 Jesus prays to His Father saying, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God , and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
 May we know, worship, honor and praise our Father and His Son, for this is indeed eternal life!
--Michael Delaney