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After God brought His children out of Egypt, through the sea, and across the desert, He brought them to a mountain. It was called Mount Sinai, and it was the same place where Moses had first talked with God at the burning bush. The people set up their tents and camped in front of the mountain.
God called Moses, “Come up the mountain and talk with Me.” So Moses climbed up, up, up the mountain.
“Ah, my people, the children of Israel,“ said God, as He looked out at them. “Please tell them: You all saw with your own eyes what I did to Egypt with My Ten Incredibly Credible Whammies, and how I lifted you up and carried you out of there. I spread My wings to catch you like an eagle lifts up its babies — you were flying on eagle’s wings! I brought you close to Me like you were my happy bride coming into My home.
“If you will listen carefully to Me, and obey My Covenant with you, then you will become a people belonging to ME — My treasured possession! The whole world is Mine, but out of all the nations, YOU will be set apart for Me alone. You will be for Me a kingdom of priests, and a nation set apart for Me and My purposes.”
Are you surprised to hear God talking so sweetly to these whining, crying, panicking, pouting people? Well, God really is that forgiving and merciful — He just can’t help Himself sometimes! When God looked down at His Chosen Children, adoring words just rolled off His tongue like a beautiful poem. “Flying on eagle’s wings.” “A happy bride coming into My home.”
This was all God had wanted from the beginning: A People He could draw close, close, close to Himself. It was all part of His Big Plan.
God sounds ready to scoop them up and wrap them in His arms, doesn’t He?. . . Ready to get back on the path to the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life!
And God wanted ALL His people to be close to Him — not just some — ALL!
He wanted a Royal Priesthood — Kingly Priests doing God’s redeeming work of putting other men’s hands into God’s hands, so that all men everywhere would have a chance to know Him.
One Holy Nation - Set apart to do the work of healing the other nations of the world.
But, HOW are these whining, crying, panicking, pouting people going to get to a place of purity and cleanness to ever become this useful to God? Part of it had to do with the Covenant of Rules He was about to give them. Sin separates people from God, and the rules would make it very clear what was sin and how people were NOT living up to God’s holiness. You’ll see later that this Covenant of Rules was only one more step in God’s Plan for really delivering people from a hard, stony heart to a soft, moldable heart. It was like a stepping stone to the real Answer that’s coming later.
Then Moses went down the mountain and told the people all that God had said. They excitedly answered, “All that the Lord has commanded, we will do!”
So Moses went back and told God what they’d said.
“Oh Moses, I’m going to come and talk to you in a way that all the People can hear Me. That way they’ll always believe you, too! I don’t ever want them to doubt or think bad things about you again, either.”
“So go, Moses, get the people washed up and all clean and ready. I’ll come down on the third day. But put a boundary around the mountain at first because it’s holy ground. No one can even touch it until I say! But when you hear the trumpet blast, THEN everyone can come up, up, up the mountain to Me.”
So Moses helped get the people all clean and ready. Scrubba dubba dubba. They washed their clothes and their bodies (I bet they even got behind their ears), and they didn’t do anything that would make them unclean.
When the third day came, they came out of their tents and stood in front of the mountain.
Boom, Bang, Crash! There was lightning and thunder, and a huge, dark cloud over the mountain. God came down on the top of the mountain with fire and smoke! The whole mountain started shaking, and there was a sound of a loud trumpet, getting louder and louder and louder. Moses and God were talking to each other. The people could hear God’s thundering voice.
What an awe, awe, awesome sight to see and sound to hear!
God spoke to them and told them 10 commands/10 rules that He wanted them to obey.
When the people saw the lightning and heard the thunder and the trumpet sound and saw the mountain shaking and smoking, they were terrified! They were so afraid, they started sh-sh-shaking, too.
“Please, oh, please, Moses, don’t let God talk directly to us!” they cried. “We’re scared. You talk to Him for us and we’ll listen to you — because if God talks to us, we’ll die!” (It wasn’t really true, they were just panicking.)
Moses tried to explain, “No. Don’t be afraid. God is helping you. You need to have this dreadful awe and respect of Him so that you will not sin.”
Do your dads and moms ever need to talk to you in a firm, serious, strong voice? Of course. Why do parents talk strongly to you sometimes? Because they love you and want you to understand that some things are serious, especially sin. But once you understand something is serious and you are respectful, sweet, and do your best to obey, then you get scooped up for some lovin’, don’t you?! Yeah! So even though God was using His firm voice now, He was really just about to scoop them up for some lovin’. This is what Moses was trying to explain.
But the people wouldn’t listen. The trumpet sounded, and God said they could come up the mountain… BUT… the people kept their distance. They didn’t want to get close.
Oh no! Being close, close, close and Holy, Set Apart for Him, was part of God’s Big Plan! God had just finished telling them that they could be His Royal Priesthood. He had just gotten a Covenant ready that would show them the way to get their hearts ready so that they could be His Holy Nation.
But they had missed their chance! So now God was going to have to change that part of His plan for them. He would once again have to take the slower way to get His Bride, His Kingdom of Priests. These children of His would be missing out on the REALLY good stuff… for now.
So the people stayed far, far, far away from the mountain. But Moses went up the mountain to be close, close, close to God. He listened to all God said about the Covenant.
God was still think, think, thinking ahead though. “This plan will work,” He told Moses. “Later, I will raise up a prophet like you from among the people, and I will put My words in His mouth, and the people will believe what He says.”
Later, God would give people another chance to come close to Him. And next time, more would do it!