Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
If verse 4 looks over its shoulder at the past, to what God did, verses 5,6 look forward to the future. In a nutshell, the Israelites were being called to trust and obey. God gave promises for their faith and commands for their obedience. When you think about it, this is the pattern of salvation we have experienced: We are delivered from a power greater than ourselves, and brought into a life of believing God’s Word and doing His will.
It is important to note that the children of Israel were not saved by obedience (works), but God saved them and called them to obey. As they did so, they would stand out as a distinctive people in the world.
‘What was true of the ‘old’ covenant is true of the ‘new’, and we enter on exactly the same basis of grace and continue in exactly the same obedience of faith.’ Alec Motyer: ‘The message of Exodus’, p.197.
Again, Motyer helpfully writes:
‘The significant if with which verse 5 opens relates not to covenant status but to covenant enjoyment. Status comes by the acts of God; enjoyment by the responsive commitment of obedience. Obedience is not our part in a two-sided bargain, but our grateful response to what the Lord has unilaterally decided and done…The hallmark of the genuineness of the people of God is that they possess, listen to and obey the word of God’ (p.200).