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Exodus 19, Sinai

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    They are about 2 1/2 months out of Egypt now. Water and food (not to mention escape from the Egyptians) have all been miraculously provided for them. Life has probably, at least for most of them, settled into a bit of a pattern now, despite the necessity of travel.

    And so they arrive at Mt. Sinai and set up camp at the base of the mountain.

    At this point Moses climbs at least partway up the mountain. God talks to him, and reminds him of the miraculous escape and tells Moses that God Himself has brought them "on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself."

    We need to pay close attention when idioms like this are explained, for they are used in other places in the Bible without this explanation. "On eagles' wings" obviously here does not mean through the air, but is being used as an idiom for "swiftly, despite problems which might have delayed you." If we watch the way eagles fly, this makes sense: they ride the air currents whenever they can, but when the air goes against them, they go to work and actively fly.

    When the 'current' goes with us, life is easy and we are happy to float along, headed in the right direction. But when the current goes against us, we can't afford to be lazy. We have to get up and trek through that desert, counting on God to supply all we need along the way, including our strength. And on his grace -- on eagles' wings -- He brings us to Himself.

    But now God makes a provisional covenant with the Israelite people. It is an "if...then" promise.

    "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, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

    Stop just a moment and go to Matthew 4:8-9. The devil is claiming the kingdoms of the world are his and that he will give them to Jesus in response to worship of the devil.

    Jesus does not argue. He does not point out that although the 'kingdoms' may belong to the devil, the earth itself is the Lord's. He does not argue that these kingdoms will fall.

    He does not argue, period. He simply quotes Scripture. "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

    In Ephesians 6:17, we read that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It is the only offensive weapon we are given. All other parts of our spiritual armor are defensive. Why? Because all we are asked to do is stand -- and after it all, to stand. Just stand.

    And we are so much like the Israelites at this point: "Sure thing! WE can do that!" That's a rough translation of their response to Moses...

    and of ours to God, too...

    It is so easy to see the reward and not prepare for the work that must be done to get it!

    God's next move is to let the people know they can trust Moses as being God's direct voice to them. So God says He will come in a 'dense cloud' the next day and that the people should therefore be consecrated. This must have been a moment of high excitement and anticipation for the encamped Israelites. "God's coming!" God HIMSELF!

    There are many who say that what happened three days later was a volcanic eruption. And it may have been -- God uses all of His creation to proclaim Himself. "There was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled."

    This was NOT what they had in mind!

    But Moses does not lead them away from the mountain, but to the very foot of it! Is this man stark crazy? People could get killed this way!

    The Israelites are probably not quite as excited and anticipatory now as they had been before!

    Verse 18 then says that not only was the mountain COVERED with smoke, but "the LORD descended on it in fire."

    The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder.

    Then Moses spoke.

    And the voice of God answered him.

    The Bible says simply that God called Moses to the top of the mountain.

    If this was indeed a volcanic eruption, and even if it wasn't, do we realize the faith and courage and trust that required on Moses' part? The Red Sea had parted for them, but now he was being called up into the very center of a fiery inferno. How many of us......??

    And then the Lord reminds Moses that the people are not, under any circumstances, to follow Moses up the mountain, but that Moses is to go and get Aaron, and bring him up.

    So Moses went down to the people and told them.

    He obeyed.

    [ August 25, 2002, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Oct 10, 2001
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    Cross reference links on the board

    Bible in a year forum:

    February - Reading 7

    [ September 28, 2002, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]