therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine.
Exodus 19 [1.] In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain. Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
- Conditional Covenant:
The opening phrase, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant," establishes a conditional aspect to the covenant. God's covenant with the Israelites is contingent upon their obedience—a recurring theme throughout the Old Testament.
Cross-Reference: Deuteronomy 28:1: "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth." The idea of obedience leading to blessings is reiterated in other passages.
- God's Chosen Possession:
The verse continues with a profound declaration, "you shall be my own possession among all peoples." Here, God designates the Israelites as His chosen possession—a people set apart for a special relationship with the Creator of the universe. This declaration echoes the promises made to Abraham regarding his descendants.
Cross-Reference: Deuteronomy 7:6: "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession." The theme of God choosing a people as His treasured possession is reiterated in Deuteronomy.
- Divine Ownership:
The statement, "for all the earth is mine," underscores God's sovereign ownership over the entirety of creation. It serves as a reminder that God, as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, has the ultimate claim over every corner of the earth.
Cross-Reference: Psalm 24:1: "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." The concept of God's ownership over the earth is echoed in the Psalms.
Obedience and Covenant: Exodus 19:5 prompts reflection on the nature of our covenantal relationship with God. It challenges us to consider the role of obedience in our journey of faith and the implications of actively keeping God's covenant.
Identity as God's Possession: The designation of the Israelites as God's possession carries profound implications for our identity as believers. It invites us to recognize our unique status as a chosen people, set apart for God's purposes in the world.
Stewardship and Ownership: The acknowledgment that all the earth belongs to God calls us to a perspective of stewardship. It challenges us to recognize that our possessions, talents, and resources are ultimately entrusted to us by the Creator.
In conclusion, Exodus 19:5 marks a significant juncture in the covenantal relationship between God and the Israelites. It lays out the conditions for the covenant, declares the chosen status of the people, and emphasizes God's sovereign ownership over all the earth. As we ponder the implications of this verse, may we embrace the call to obedience, find security in our identity as God's chosen possession, and approach life with a profound awareness of God's ownership over every facet of our existence.
PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible