ESSAY-LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: Today’s lesson was expertly taught by Sister Johnson. The lesson was entitled, BE READY. The Scripture was from Exodus 19:16-25. The KEY VERSE was verse 17 which reads, “Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount (NIV)”.
Earlier, in verses 10-11, the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people”. Verse 16 reads, “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.” (NIV).
My subtitle today is:
THREE TO GET READY
The Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a “sign” which would validate his claim that His authority to teach the people came from God and that He was indeed the Messiah. In response to their request, Jesus told them: An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39-40).
In Scripture the number three is one of the so called “perfect numbers.” The other “perfect numbers” are seven, ten, and twelve. In Scripture the number three signifies completeness or perfection
- The earth was separated from the waters on the 3rd day
- 3 “men” announced to Abraham that his barren wife would bear a son.
- Jesus was missing for 3 days when He was twelve years old (Luke 2:46).
- Jesus prophesized that He would arise from the dead on the 3rd
- There are 3 theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.
- Christians saw 3 as symbolic of the Trinity, the triune nature of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20).
- The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three ” (John 2:18-19 NIV)
There are many other examples of the number three in the Bible. In today’s Scripture, the Lord tells Moses; “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day”. On that day, God would appear to the people. What experience could be more perfect and complete than seeing God in all of his awesome splendor and majestic glory?
In our preparation to see God we have to reach a completeness; a perfection of our own. We must prepare ourselves in three areas if we intend on seeing the Lord. 1 Samuel 16:7 gives us two areas of consideration. Verse 7 reads, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him’; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth. For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
From 1 Samuel 16:7, we see that the “Lord looketh on the heart”. The heart is the first of the three areas we need to prepare in order to be ready to see God.
We can see the second area needing attention—when getting ready to see God—in James 1:21 which reads, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The soul is the second component to make ready.
As stated in 1 Samuel 16:7, God doesn’t look at a person’s outer appearance. But wait a minute, in Exodus 10, God told Moses to have the people wash their clothes. Why would he do that if he cared not for outer appearance? The answer, according to most theologians, is that the “washing of the clothes” was done symbolically. God knew that people would grasp the abstract concept of cleansing their minds easier if they could visualize the concept, therefore, while washing their clothes, the Israelites could work on cleansing their minds of impure thoughts. The mind is the third area needing work when preparing to see God.
Jesus told the Pharisees that the greatest commandment was to; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Heart, Soul and Mind; the THREE to GET READY, the triumvirate of victory, the triad of peace, the trifecta whose reward is everlasting life in the presence of the Lord.