Today’s Reading: Exodus 19 & 20; 23:20-33; 24
Now the people arrive at an important place – Mount Sinai – “Mountain of God”, and God so beautifully describes what He has done – “carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” Then God proposes a covenant to bind Himself to them and for them to be “His treasured possession.” “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Does it sound like His description of us in 1 Peter 2:9? But there is a condition for the people – “if you obey me fully and keep my covenant!” In our western world of selfishness and imagined rights, “when the rubber hits the road” and we are called on to “obey,” perhaps you are like me and begin to think, “Wait a minute, I get to choose whether to obey or not!” But it is a covenant, not only binding on God, but also binding me to obedience! But the Israelites, like me, unthinkingly answer, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” (what’s my track record on that!)
Then on the third day, the Lord descends on the mountain, with thunder, lightning, thick cloud billowing up like from a furnace and the trumpet sound and the whole mountain trembles. Then God speaks to Moses and God answers him! Still God must warn Moses again and again of the people’s tendency to treat God without the fear or “respect due to Him” and the dire consequences of such actions! True He is my precious Saviour, Who loves me without limit, but He is also holy, and to treat Him in a way according to which the world says “familiarity breeds contempt” is not wise or honouring to Him as He deserves to be honoured and valued!
Then the Ten Commandments are given – good enjoyable theology, but difficult life practice in real life!
Standing in the felt presence of God without a sense of His great love, always brings a sense of not only awe but a “knee jerk reaction” of withdrawal in relationship with God! – You, Moses talk to us, but not God! Did God’s heart feel the sadness of distance in what should have been a close love relationship?”
But despite this, God shows them how to worship Him in an acceptable way, because besides Him, there is no other god other than sticks or stones or something someone made up! He is not something people imaged up! He is our Father Creator God, and since He is that, there are no other gods besides Him and to have any others is an insult to Him and His loving greatness! But even in His greatness, He pledges that an angel will guard & lead, but in His faithfulness, warns against rebellion (how well He knows us! (spoken from personal experience!).
Again He pledges His help to gain their inheritance, the land, and in His ability to be detailed, says that He can use the hornets to help and that He will do it in stages, as they are able to handle it! (sounds like when He is dealing with me in His infinite patience, waiting for my slow growth!) and He being the faithful Father, warns about allowing the inhabitants of land or their gods to remain – He knows how weak we humans are against temptation!
The Israelites are sprinkled with blood of the covenant to make it good both from their side and His side!
Not sure how the elders saw God and lived, but Revelations promises that those of us who are redeemed with Jesus Christ’s blood, will one day see His face in pure joy and without any condemnation whatsoever! The price for our sins has been paid for by the blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ!
And so Moses disappears into the cloud to talk with God and to be close to Him, while the people see the cloud as a consuming fire! I think I prefer Moses’ position! (Heb. 12:18-29). Hebrews 4:16 tells me that I can draw close to the throne of grace (God) at any time with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need! (I guess I have those times more than I am aware of!) Does He wait for me at the throne of grace with the same sense of excitement and impatience, with which we used to wait for Marg to come out of the customs when she was returning from overseas?