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On the Mountain with God

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. God did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; also they beheld God, and they ate and drank. The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:9-18, NRSV)

God called the leaders to come up the mountain to him. They went up and they saw God. They beheld God and God did not smite them nor harm them.

And they ate and drank there, and then God called Moses to come up to Him. And Moses stayed there for 6 days and then on the 7th day God called to Moses and Moses entered the cloud and stayed with God forty days and nights. God stayed with Moses and fellowshipped with him.

Have you fellowshipped with God?

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The Blood of the Covenant

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:1-8, NRSV)

God made a promise to the people of Israel through Moses. Moses built an altar and set up 12 pillars one for each tribe and then offered burnt offerings and sacrifices. He then spread half of the blood on the altar and then read the book of the covenant to the people. Moses then took the rest of the blood and dashed it on the people. This sealed the covenant between God and the people.

Have you been dashed with blood?

Has the covenant between you and God been sealed?

 

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The Conquest of Canaan Promised

I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him. But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces. You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. I will send my terror in front of you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send the pestilence in front of you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, or the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. I will set your borders from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will hand over to you the inhabitants of the land, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not live in your land, or they will make you sin against me; for if you worship their gods, it will surely be a snare to you. (Exodus 23:20-33, NRSV)

Here God told the Israelites that is they listened to God’s Angel that the land God promised them would be conquered by them.

Do we listen to God?

Do we do what we think He would want us to do, or actually what He is telling us to do?

Sometimes we get hung up in our own ways and our own insecurities and fall back on our understanding and our fears, but God is leading us to places we have never been and taking by means we can not understand. If we do not listen and follow His direction we will be lost and floundering.

So do you listen to God?

 

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The Annual Festivals

Three times in the year you shall hold a festival for me. You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God. You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my festival remain until the morning. The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (Exodus 23:14-19, NRSV)

So does this mean we only have to go to worship and give 3 times a year?

No that is not what this means. What this means is that the Israelites were told by God that three times a year they were to forsake what they are ddoin gin their daily lives and gather together in Jerusalem and worship God for a set time. Everyone was to leave the world behind and focus all of their attention on God.

How many of us would do this?

Can we focus everything on God?

 

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Commandments to Honor Self

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17, NRSV)

It is one thing to see the wonders your neighbor has and want them because you are inspired by your neighbor. It is another to want what your neighbor has and try to get it from him by any means possible.

When wanting something that someone else has makes us break other commandments or do things we would not do that is when it is coveting. And that is not how we should live.

We should build up our neighbors and be inspired by what they have to go and do better ourselves. That is what living in relationships does. It helps us make others better and in turn that makes us want to be better.

How can you make the world better?

 

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Justice for All

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness. You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing; when you bear witness in a lawsuit, you shall not side with the majority so as to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to the poor in a lawsuit. When you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you shall bring it back. When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free. You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in their lawsuits. Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and those in the right, for I will not acquit the guilty. You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:1-9, NRSV)

Justice is blind and doesn’t add weight.

Justice is for all people and only hurts the person who thinks they deserve more. God wants us to treat our neighbor as we want to be treated and to give them the portion of things as we would want.

It really isn’t that hard to make sure people have what we would want. But yet this is the hardest thing to do.

Do you seek justice for all?

 

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Social and Religious Laws

When a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married, and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. But if her father refuses to give her to him, he shall pay an amount equal to the bride-price for virgins. You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live. Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death. Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction. You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans. If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them. If you take your neighbor’s cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; for it may be your neighbor’s only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbor cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate. You shall not revile God, or curse a leader of your people. You shall not delay to make offerings from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall remain with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me. You shall be people consecrated to me; therefore you shall not eat any meat that is mangled by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs. (Exodus 22.16-31, NRSV)

Don’t try to get what is not yours.

Treat those who have no one to take care of them as if they are yours to care for.

You see God has placed us all here to be God’s hands and feet and to be the protector of those who can not protect themselves.

Give to God what is His and make sure you use what God has blessed you with to help those who need help.

 

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