Read Exodus 24
The Covenant Confirmed
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, 2 but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”
3 When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” 4 Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.
He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy eldersof Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”
13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”
15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it,16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
In Exodus 24, we see Moses ascend up Mt. Sinai for the sixth time to confirm the covenant between God and the Israeltes. This time, Moses and about 75 others encounter the Lord God. Moses is called to ascend even further up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone with the instructions and commandments written on them. In verse 18, it says, “Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.”
At this point, when Moses goes up the mountain, the Israelites had left Egypt over a year ago. And he’s gone for another 40 days and 40 nights.
Can you imagine what it was like to wait for those 40 days and 40 nights?
We have the privilege of knowing the length of the waiting period, but they didn’t. They were not told to “sit tight, it’ll be about 40 days.” No, they weren’t told anything about the duration of waiting they needed to endure. Most likely, they asked the questions we would ask ourselves in that situation:“When will our leader come back?” “Who will take us to the land God promised us?” “Has God forgotten us? Abandoned us?”
This is similar to all of us right now. We are waiting for something without knowing how long the wait will last. Whether it’s an answered prayer for health to be restored, a relationship reconciled, a wound to heal, a change in our circumstances or a change to take place in someone we love.
In our waiting, may we turn towards God and not from Him.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
In your waiting, how are you remaining steadfast and patient? How are you growing apathetic and grumbling?
Are you able to choose contentment in your waiting or do you find yourself agitated and complaining?
Are you trusting God with the outcome or are you trying to take the wheel?
Did You Know?
Nadab and Abihu, mentioned in verse one, are Aaron’s two oldest sons. The priesthood has not yet been established, but when it is established in chapter 40, God instructs it to be from generation to generation. To this day, Jews who know themselves to be priests trace their ancestry in a direct line back to Aaron.