This week Parasha is Yitro, which means Jethro and covers Exodus chapters 18 1-20:23
Chapter 18 tells us about Jethro, who was a priest of Midian and Moses father-in-law. Jethro comes to meet Moses with Moses wife Zipporah and his two sons. Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, he bowed down and kissed him. They had a mutual respect and love for each other. Moses tells Jethro what the God of the Israelis has told him to do and how he delivered his people from the hands of Egypt. Jethro brings offerings and sacrifices to El Gabor mighty God, and Aaron and the elders of Israel came and broke bread with Jethro. The next day Jethro observes how the people come to Moses and he dispenses justice to the Jewish nation from the small matter to the large matter, and Moses does this from morning till sunset. Jethro sees what a burden this is on Moses and advises him that this will wear him out, so he makes a suggestion that Moses utilize the elders of Israel and have them decide the small matters and Moses will decide the large matters. Moses accepts this advice and puts it into practice.
Moses has not been leading this group for very long, Before that, the only thing he led around was sheep so God is going to test Moses – not because God doesn’t know what Moses will do, but so that Moses will learn how to lead the people. Remember, this is approximately 2 million people that Moses will be leading and Moses will have to learn to be a good leader in order for the people to trust being led.
In chapter 19, they camp at the foot of the mountain where Moses will go up to meet EL Elyon, the most high God. Moses will be given the 10 Commandments, this dispensation, this law would be in effect until the sacrifice of Yeshua. It is a revelation to a people living under ideal conditions that they cannot keep this law and yet the people tell Moses “all that the Lord has spoken we will do”, they have not even heard the terms yet, and they proved in the next 1500 years that they could not keep the law even once. The natural man fails to keep the law because it is a perfect law and we are not perfect. God is also going to give them sacrifice for sins and brothers and sisters you better believe an awful lot animals died atoning for those sins.
In chapter 20 we are given the 10 Commandments with a little reminder at the beginning “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery” not much time has gone by since they left Egypt but God already knows how poor their memory is for what he has done for them.
The first commandment is you shall have no other God before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet anything of your neighbors.
When these words were given to the Israelis. God appeared to them in a fire over the mountain. Great thunder was occurring and believe you me these Israelis were trembling with fear, they just realized what they promised they would do. To follow these laws and the other 603 to follow, they would have to be in the perfect will of God, they chose poorly, brothers and sisters we choose poorly. We all fail to meet the perfect will of God, that is why God gave grace when he gave them the law and the sacrifices that they would make for sin.
Brothers and sisters we live in the permissive will of God. The great sacrifice that our Lord Yeshua made on that cross and then in his resurrection brought about the grace that we do not deserve, he took our place on that cross. Isaiah 53 tells us in verse four “surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering that we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, punishment that brought us peace was on him, by his wounds we are healed”.
The atonement that Messiah Yeshua made for us did not merely cover our sin but cleansed our sin as if it was never there – without that brothers and sisters, there would be no grace, no mercy, and no forgiveness and we cannot live without that. It came at a great price. I think we so fail to understand the sacrifice that our Lord made for us. Brother’s and sisters, the only person capable of following the law and being in the perfect will of God is our Lord Messiah Yeshua and only him.
Most of us have a mirror in our bathrooms which is like a picture of the law. It reveals our failures and then below is a sink which you wash yourself clean. The mirror reveals our dirt and the sink with the water helps cleanse us. Messiah is that water that heals us.
The law sets forth what man ought to be, and grace sets forth what God actually is. The law doesn’t make man a sinner it just reveals that he is.
Just because we live in the age of grace, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to follow the law, the law brings us closer to Messiah Yeshua.
The first four of the 10 Commandments are how we are to respond to God, the last six how we are to treat our brothers and sisters. I want you to think about two words; covetousness and idolatry. We should have faith that God has given us what we need – we should have no reason to covet what somebody else has because we trust in God.
The other word idolatry; is anything that takes our eyes off of God or replaces God. Whether we are rich or poor, we all chase after a little too much money and what it buys, wherever you put your heart, your time and your soul becomes your god and for all of us brothers and sisters this should hit home, instead of coming to synagogue or church once a week and think you put your time in and then all the rest of the week you serve yourself, we have really missed the boat on that one.
We should spend time every day with the Lord in prayer and studying his word and volunteering at church, spreading His word. This should be a daily occurrence if we start our day out like that we would hear what God is telling us. Brothers and Sisters do you see why we cannot live a day without HIS grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Make a commitment to be about HIS business, not our own.