Consecrated for God's Purposes

The Mission of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:21
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David Foster Wallace once gave a commencement address titled, “This Is Water,” where he called out our culture’s obsession of worshiping false gods—beauty, power, intellect—as well as living as though large, noble, transcendent truths hold no power. He said, “You get to decide what to worship.… Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. If you worship money and things, then you will never have enough. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.… Worship power—you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart—you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”
As I reflected on these words late this past week, I was struck by the sheer honesty that Mr. Wallace put into his thoughts. And these are all very true for everyone in today’s society. Whether we want to admit or not, we all worship things and circumstances rather than what we really should be worshiping and that is God. None of us here are exempt. Let me say that again, NONE OF US HERE are exempt from this. Each of us has something in our lives which pull us away from God and fulfilling the life into which God has called us.
Now, I could stand here today and say a whole lot of things about how we need to realign ourselves with true worship and what that might look like. I could give us example after example of what we could be doing differently, the problem is, and I am going to get to the heart of this passage with this and hopefully, straight into your hearts as well, no matter what I say, each of us is going to do exactly what we want. You see, despite the words that I feel God gives me, if we are so entrenched in other worship, all the words I speak are going to do is anger you, and they should because that means God is trying to break into your hearts, however, nothing I say is going to make a difference unless you are open for changing yourself.
I have to admit that these were hard words for me to hear in my heart this week because I too had fallen prey to the evil one and allowed things to pull me away from God…that being said, I am also trying to do what is best and listen more intently to that which God is calling me in this moment and day…and I am praying in my heart at this moment that if you feel convicted right now, that you too will soften your hearts and turn yourself over to God’s will and love so that something that the Israelites learned can help you to be willing and able to be consecrated for God’s purposes...

The Israelites and God’s Covenant

Today’s passage from Moses’ life, which is the last one we will be studying this fall, tells us about a time when the Israelites had settled in an area of the desert at the base of a mountain. This mountain becomes the place where God speaks to Moses and the elders on numerous occasions and it also becomes the place where God solidifies the covenant the people make with God and God gives the stone tablets.
The Israelites have arrived at the Mountain and set up camp. Moses has gone about getting an audience with God on top of the mountain and established that God desires to renew the covenant that God made with Abraham and Sarah in such a way that would make the people feel special and treasured...
Exodus 19:5 NLT
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.
Let’s spend a moment considering what it means to be treasured…and I want you to consider what it truly means to treasure someone in your life. Maybe it is a child or a grandchild. Maybe the person you treasure is not necessarily a person but a four-legged child. Think about how this person or “child” makes you feel. Think about how when you see this person, it brings a smile to your face and lightens your heart just to know that they are there and share love with you.
This is the kind of love that God has for the Israelites. They are the descendants of Abraham and Sarah, they are the descendants of the only child that Abraham and Sarah ever had together. Of course God loves this people, if it were not for God’s intervention, none of them would exist. Talk about being treasured…yet, despite promising to do as God commands, they fell away from God.

The Rest of the Story

I am going to jump ahead a bit because we will not have time to cover all of Moses’ story together if I do not…but here’s the thing…the people promise in this passage to:
Exodus 19:8 (NLT)
And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”
If you read just a bit further in Exodus, well and actually everything up to the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that the Israelites never fully comprehend what they are promising to God in these words, nor do they ever fully comprehend what their failures did to God and God’s love for them, nor do many of them ever fully grasp what it is that God did to bring them back into relationship with God. We, here today, still cannot fully grasp it either because if we did, we would be doing our very best to live a life worthy of being Christ’s siblings.
But I am getting ahead of myself a bit here…throughout the Israelite’s history, from Moses to Christ, we hear countless stories of how the people rebel and move away from God’s love. It started with the worship of a golden calf and today, we all have our own golden calves. Yet, God desired for all of us to be set aside and holy and precious in God’s sight.
In today’s world, it is hard to see ourselves as treasured and consecrated for God’s purposes, yet that is what happens in our baptism. God places an invisible mark on our souls and we are then called to become what God desires for us to be. As we end our study of Moses and the Israelites, this story stands as a challenge to each of us to examine our hearts and determine what it is that we truly want to worship. Because if choose to worship God over and above anything else, I believe our lives can be so much more and we can do more…it’s about trusting in God’s promises and not the world’s. Amen.
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