Tuesday, August 21, 2012

XLIV - Exodus 19 - Moses Meets God on Mt. Sinai

Exodus 19 - Moses Meets God on Mt. Sinai

Yesterday's post told us about the wonderful visit Moses had with his father-in-law Jethro.  Jethro has gone home now and God has Israel break camp at Rephidim and led them into the desert of Sinai.  They stopped and camped at the foot of the Mount Sinai just on the northwest side.  While the people were setting up camp, Moses slipped away quietly to go up the mountain.  {Just think of what is
going through Moses's mind.  He knows he is going to meet God again.  This mountain was somewhat familiar territory to Moses.  This is the location of his first encounter with God at the burning bush, and I'm certain that this is the exact location Moses went to this time.  Remember our discussion about "places" that are special to us?  And remember how reluctant Moses was when God commissioned him to lead His people out of Egypt?  This time Moses probably feels good about having accomplished what God had commissioned him and looks forward to his next assignment.}

Vs 3-->  God didn't waste time.  He began giving Moses instructions as to what to say to the nation Israel, and the details were important.   God gave Moses a beautiful and challenging message for the people.  He declared Himself the God of their salvation from Egypt.  He describes His act as carrying them "on eagles' wings" and have brought everyone in the nation of Israel to Himself.  {There was noone who was a part of the nation of Israel that was not there at that time.}  In verses 5 and 6 God makes a very special covenant with the people.  {Remember a covenant is an agreement between two entities, usually with one entity accepting most of the responsibility.}  God says that "IF" you obey Me fully and keep my covenant, "THEN" I will make you my treasured possession out of all the nations on earth.  He goes on to say that although the whole earth belongs to God (He created it and He can destroy it).  He will make Israel a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  {As we will study later, being the kingdom of priests in God's world will involve, among other things, Israel speaking to the world about God the way Moses is speaking to Israel about God.  Although this is a tremendous honor, it carries with it an equally tremendous responsibility.  This is one of the most important covenants that God makes with Israel.}

Vss 7, 8  - Moses goes down the mountain and and gathers the elders from the twelve tribes and delivers God's message.  The people agreed to do everything the Lord had said.  So Moses went back up the moutain to report to Him their answer.

Vs 9-->  Here the Lord tells Moses that He is going to appear before the nation Israel, and procedes to give Moses detailed instructions for him to relay to the people.  He would give them two days to prepare and on the third day, God would appear.  {Notice in verse 9 that God says that the people will hear Him speak to Moses, therefore they will always put their trust in Moses.  God knew that the people were inclined to turn on Moses and this was a very special step God made in behalf of His beloved and faithful servant.}  So, in the two days they were to consecrate themselves (means "dedicated for a sacred purpose").  In doing this they were to wash their clothes.  Also, they were to mark (probably with stones) an area a short distance from the foot of the mountain.  This was to mark a boundry around the mountain, which noone except Moses and Aaron could cross.  Anyone who crosses that boundry and touches the mountain shall be put to death.  God goes on to stipulate how any such person should be put to death:  They were to be stoned or shot with arrows.  Noone is to touch these people with their bare hands.  The mountain is not to be approached until the ram horn is sounded. {These are indeed detailed instructions, but you'll see throughout the Bible that ALL of God's instructions are detailed, some much more than this.  If God speaks it, it is worthy of our
time to read it.}  One last directive in preparation for God's visit in verse 15:  Abstain from sexual relations during these three days.  {This mandate from God is not used often, but this is not the last time He makes this mandate.}
Vs 16 -->  On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightening, with a thick cloud over the mountain, along with a very loud trumpet blast.  Of course everone was frightened.  I would have been too.  Smoke billowed up from the mountain like smoke from a furnace and the whole mountain trembled.  {This was not an angel or any other surrogate that God sent to perform a task.  This was GOD Himself.  It was like God was here, and no place else for that one brief moment in eternity.}  In verse 20 God calls Moses up to the top of Mt Sinai and tells him to go back down and reinforce to them the importance of the prohibition God has placed on approaching the mountain.  This included everybody, even the priests.  Moses returned and reported that the people were aware of the restriction and were honoring it.  Then in the last verse of this chapter God tells Moses to bring Aaron back with him, but noone else.

Next post - The Ten Commandments

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