Exodus 19:2-8a (NRSV)
2They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 3Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites." 7So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8The people all answered as one: "Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.
Independence Day had arrived with the miracle of the Israelites’ deliverance out of Egypt. What faced God’s people now was something just as daunting: their arrival in the Sinai Desert. God spoke to Moses and established a treaty, a covenant. “You have seen what I have done,” the Lord said. “I have carried you out of bondage as if you were on eagles’ wings.
Whenever my wife and I drive near the Minnesota or the Mississippi River, she scans the sky for eagles. “Look, there’s one,” she will exclaim excitedly. I have to remind her my eyes are on the road.
Besides the good news of deliverance, God announces: “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, my agreement with you, you will be my treasured people.” Just imagine that! Through Jesus Christ, we too have been carried as if we were on the wings of eagles; we too are God’s treasured people.
O God, as you led the people through the desert and taught them to be yours, may we too be led by you. May we follow the covenant you gave your people so long ago. Amen.