4th Quarter: Present Truth in Deuteronomy.
Lesson 7: Law and Grace
Wednesday: A Slave in Egypt
Text: [[Deu 5:15]] BSB
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Think about this for a moment… How do you think it felt obeying and following God as an Israelites, especially during their wilderness experience? From a distance, it may appear that it was a scary experience and frustrating experience. Viewing from a 21st-century Christian point, it’ll look more like, “ahh! We’ve no option now and we just have to follow a bunch of unnecessary instructions lest He kills us”. But is that really how the Israelites saw it? Did God just throw laws at them without giving them enough reasons to trust and love him? If the Israelites disobeyed, it wasn’t because they had no reason to obey, because God gave them enough reasons.
Look through the book of Deuteronomy, and you’ll realize that over and over again God states clearly what He has done for the nation for which he now demanded obedience in return as part of their covenant obligations. “So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders” (Deut 26:8) Now think about what it meant to a slave in Egypt. Your whole destiny was in the hand of a man who could wake up one day and say kill everyone, irrespective of what good thing you did the day before. Now God freed them to give them a rich and fertile land which they neither built nor sustained. What greater Grace, what reason or motivation more did they need to obey?
If you still can’t get the depth of this work, hear it now… Their freedom from the Egyptian slavery was a type of salvation, a redemptive work to which Israel did nothing to merit or contribute. They only had to accept. It’s therefore not surprising that Moses, in expounding on the 10 commandments used their redemption as a reason to keep the Sabbath Holy. In other words, the Sabbath was to be a sign of God’s redemptive and salvific work not just for Israel, but for humanity. When you think about your redemption, then Remember to honour me by keeping my Sabbath.
God never leaves us to obey blindly. Even faith is not blind. Like Israel, God always gives us reasons to obey him. What reason do you have which is enough to cause you to freely and wholeheartedly serve God?