When we are being restored from something, we are only able to really be restored when we separate ourselves from the thing that is bothering us. In yesterday’s passage, Moses told the of the time when the people of God sinned greatly when they made the golden calf idol and today we are seeing how the people of God are going to bounce back from that colossal failure. One way we separate ourselves from sin in the process of restoration is when we keep the laws of God as a way of setting ourselves apart, thus creating a greater distance between us and sin while shortening the distance between us and God.
Let us seek to be restored daily by keeping God’s commandments that keeps us close to His presence!
NOTES ON THE TEXT
10 “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to me on the mountain and make an ark of wood. 2 And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets that you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.’ 3 So I made an ark of acacia wood, and cut two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. 4 And he wrote on the tablets, in the same writing as before, the Ten Commandments[a] that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me.
This is the aftermath of when the Israelites failed the Lord by making an idol in the shape of a golden calf. The ark of the covenant that is being described here today was a golden box that represented where the presence of God was. The ark is the center of the Israelite community and is where God’s manifest presence was, as the commands of God were kept there. As the presence and commands of God were central to the Israelite community, the presence of God being the center of our lives is shown through our ability to cherish and obey the commands God gives us. Obeying God is a practical step of centering Him in your life.
8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand before the Lord to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him.
During the golden calf incident, the only people that dedicated themselves to the Lord were the Levites, so God set them apart for a special job in the nation of Israel. The Levites were set apart because they set themselves apart for the LORD during a time of sin, and thus were in charge of ministering to the LORD. This idea of a group of priests that can minister to the LORD changes in the New Testament. In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter tells us that anyone who is in Christ is now part of a royal priesthood so that anyone that is a Christian has the same function as that of the ancient Levites. What does this mean?
Our reward for following Jesus is Jesus as God Himself was the Levites inheritance or prize for following Him.
We can move the heart of God and bless Him when we choose to be like Him.
As His priests, we are to help the people of the world to know Him through our lives.
As Christians, our task is to really bless the world by being like God and putting Him on full display in our lives.
2 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Restoration requires action. Set yourself apart by your obedience and lifestyle. On verses twelve to thirteen, we see that God gives a command on how to live and that verse sixteen gives us a broad application. In verses seventeen and nineteen, we see that God gives practical examples of how to carry out His commands by being the example of how to live. In the end our obedience to His commands is simply us looking more and more like God everyday. If we look more and more like God in the sense of how we love others and live sacrificially while seeking to always do what is right, then we will continue to feel the effects of the restorative acts of the Gospel in and through our lives.
To center the presence of God in your life, practice obedience to His commands.
The church has been set apart in shining the light of God to the whole world so that we can continue God’s plan of restoration of creation.
God is restoring us and it is our action to do what we can to change our lives that make that a reality.