My Treasured Possession

Exodus 19:2–8a

Psalm

Emphasizes the position of privilege occupied by God’s people because of his creation and redemption: 

“It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Therefore, “Worship the Lord . . . praise his name.”

  • A priestly nation does not offer sacrifices for sins, but sacrifices of praise.

Epistle 

Reinforces that it is God’s work alone that brought us into our elect status:

“When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. . . . When we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Describes the sacrificial work of our great High Priest (“his blood,” Rom 5:9, emphasis added) and the content of our praise (5:11).

  • New Testament sacrifices do not merit the forgiveness of sins, but “are eucharistic sacrifices, which are called sacrifices of praise (Leviticus 3; 7:11[–18]; Psalm 56:12). These are the preaching of the Gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the troubles of saints, yes, all good works of saints” (Ap XXIV 25).

Gospel

Stresses the lostness and helplessness of humanity apart from God, but also God’s grace in sending his Son, the Good Shepherd, to find and reclaim us: 

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages . . . teaching . . . preaching . . . healing . . . he had compassion . . . because they were harassed and helpless, sheep without a shepherd.”

  • Jesus provided for the Holy Ministry among us, that we would hear his Word. In this way, his priestly work, through stewards, is mediated to his priests.
  • The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope also uses 1 Pet 2:9. There it is used to demonstrate the congregation’s right to choose, call, and ordain pastors (Tr 67, 69).
  1. The Red Sea miracle of deliverance through the “wall of water on their right and on their left” (Ex 14:29) brought the people to the foot of God’s mountain. 
  2. The hymn of praise from Moses and the people (Ex 15:1–18), and the reprise from Miriam and the women (Ex 15:20–21), celebrated the God who had become their salvation. 
  3. Yet the people’s tendency to wander quickly from God like scattering sheep is evident in their whining complaints and bitter grumblings that immediately followed their deliverance (Ex 15:22–17:7). 
  • Rephidim was where the water came from the rock, the manna and the quail were all provided - "Our Daily Bread"
  1. Still, the defeat of the Amalekites (Ex 17:8–16) and the provisions for the administration of God’s people (Exodus 18) reveal God’s constant mercy. He continues to tend his people through his shepherds.
  • There is a tension in our text between the high and holy office to which God calls all his people, and the continuing need for shepherds and intercessors because of the people’s sinful nature. 
  • In one sense God calls each of his people to be a king and a priest (“kingdom of priests . . . holy nation”). 
  • But because God’s saints are still sinners in this life, God has instituted a distinct office for the administration of his kingdom of grace (cf. Exodus 18). 
  • Malady: Because of our sinful nature we tend to scatter from the Shepherd as we pursue our own pleasures and purposes. We are reluctant to admit our total dependence on God, our Creator and Redeemer. 
  • “If . . .” clause must not be made into a condition which the people must try to fulfill in order to achieve the rank of “treasured possession.” 
  • We must not twist the “If . . . “ in God’s promise (v 5) to claim some credit for our standing.
  • This is why we continue to have the pastoral office today even as we affirm the priesthood of all believers.
  • Nowhere in the Confessions do we see Ex 19:6 or 1 Pet 2:5 being used to teach the Arminian idea that everyone does the work of the Office of the Holy Ministry. 
  • In the Bible and in the Confessions, the Office of the Ministry is always distinct from the priestly office of all God’s children. 
  • The Office of the Ministry is filled from within the priesthood. From there God calls men to proclaim his Word publicly and administer the Sacraments.
  • Means: God rescues his people from the slavery of sin in order that we may worship him and serve others. 
  • To help accomplish this among the priesthood of all believers God also established the pastoral office. 
  • God works in us (the Collect) to keep us as his treasured possession. 
  • Sǝgullah “treasured possession” refers to a king’s gold and silver treasure 

V2:

  • If you lose your Identity - you lose your Mission!!
  • If you forget what God has done and you forget who you are = then you will lose the Mission!!

V 3: 

  • Moses is nothing more than a mouthpiece for God. God tells him what to say.
  • Moses is to speak this Gospel verbatim. 
  • This is the fulfillment of God's promise at the burning bush.
  • Today God tells pastors/shepherds what to say in the inspired Scriptures. We have no right to add to or subtract (Rev 22:18–19).

V 4: 

  • Last week Trinity Sunday - The whole earth belongs to God the Creator, and his purpose is that all nations of the earth will be blessed through Abraham and his Seed. 
  • This covenant announcement continues the promise first given in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:15) and then elaborated to Abraham (Gen 12:1–3; 15:1–21; etc.). 
  • "Strong Bird" - not necessarily an Eagle but they preach better that Vultures! :-)

(1)  God did not abandon or reject his Old Testament Israel. Rather, he now incorporates both Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ (Eph 2:11–18) into a new Israel (Gal 6:16).

(2)  Jesus rescued the Israel of God from the slavery of sin.

  • God did it ALL = Now you are by nature a missionary

V5:

  • Exodus 19 is the beginning of the second half of the Book of Exodus. The first half dealt with history, the birth of Israel in coming through the Red Sea. The second half will establish the terms, both in promise and demand, of God’s bərith to Israel.
  • The standard “covenant” is problematic in modern America since it most often means a two-party agreement.
  • The word used for God’s unilateral promises and demands. 
  • In this case, the word would best be translated as “terms of surrender” or even as “constitution,” since it is the promise and demand that was made by a conquering or ruling monarch. 
  • If the people are to remain in God’s care, they must obey his voice. 

V 6: 

  • Yahweh himself is King and thrice holy (Trinity) (Is 6:1–5). 
  • By his grace he raises up his people to reign with him, enthroned in holiness.
  • Sadly, later in 1 Sam 8:7–9 the Israelites ask, “Now appoint a king to lead us, such as all other nations have.” God instructs Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you. It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.”

Prophets - Speak for God to the people - Pastors - Equip

Priests - Speak for the people (ALL THE EARTH) to God - Laity - Evangelism

V 8a: 

“We will do everything the Lord has said.” 

  • God can forgive and even use their failures in preparation for accomplishing his goal.

Moses may well have thought - "FINALLY!! I'm done, the people as individuals will speak to God and I will no longer need to carry them!!"

Our mouths now reveal what is in our hearts. Our lips are opened to sing God’s praise. In this way, our great High Priest, who was not of the tribe of Levi, has called us to be a priestly people. We are also without lineage. But we are chosen by God’s grace and honored by God’s love to be His Treasured Possession!