A Deal Over Dinner

Opening Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for this “daily bread” I will receive in Your Word today.

Read Exodus 24:1–18

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 elders of 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.

Reflect

Think of a celebratory meal that you have really enjoyed. That uplifting feeling is relevant to the tone of today’s reading.

The laws we have been reading (the so-called “book of the covenant”) are celebrated and
confirmed here by a “covenant meal.” Marriage is an example of covenant we still have today: two people entering freely into a set of commitments that come with obligations that are shaped by love. So the meal here is a little like a wedding meal.

What a remarkable occasion it is! The leaders of Israel “saw the God of Israel” (10), and the writer nervously suggests that they lived to tell the tale (11).

This is not quite the end. Moses takes Joshua and heads off into the cloud of God’s glory. It covers Moses for six days and then on the seventh day God speaks. This suggests that what God says next represents a final act of creation, which is how Jewish tradition has understood it: the making of the tabernacle (in the rest of the book) is how God will come to dwell with his newly created holy people. The work of creation, and of Exodus, will be complete when God is with us and we are with God.

Apply

Find a way to celebrate today the fact that God shows his love for us by giving us his blueprint (the Bible) on the best way to live.

Closing prayer

Thank You, God, for all that You have made clear to me about You and Your Word.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider