“Sprinkled in the blood”
II.) Vs. 1-8 Sign here
III.) Vs. 9-11 Under His feet
IV.) Vs. 12-18 In His presence
By the time we come to this chapter Israel has been out of Egypt a year and a half. Fresh in their minds still is the work of their deliverance, like all believers there was a unique personal experience that they were saved by the direct intervention of God. Further more on their journey to Sinai they had personally experienced how God saw them as His special treasure above all people, (Ex. 19:5), through His provisions of food and water. It was then that God told them that He wanted them to know Him better then any other people, further more He told them how they could maintain that relationship through honoring “ten words”. So for the next 5 chapters God dealt with relationships. As we come to the 24th chapter it is time to sign the contract, three things will stand out to us.
- It is God who initiates this covenant even though all the benefits are Israel’s.
- The confirmation of the covenant has two parts:
- 1-3 verbal (an oath, verses 3,7).
- 4-8 written (in blood).
- Lastly, there are mentioned three varying degrees of closeness to the Lord and we shall see that we to have a choice as to how close of a relationship we want with the Lord.
II.) Vs. 1-8 Sign here
Vs. 1-2 Back in chapter 20 after God revealed His holiness to the people they told Moses, “You speak to us, but don’t let God speak to us or we will die.” So Moses drew near to God while the rest of the people stood afar off. That means that from chapter 20 verse 22 until now all the words spoken were from God to Moses alone. This will be the first time that the rest of the nation has heard God’s heart towards them.
God now invites Moses, Aaron and his two older sons Nay-dab & A-by-hu, along with seventy of the elders to worship Him from afar. The 70 represent the judges appointed by Moses to judge the nation. What is interesting to me is that it is the same number that came to Egypt to escape the famine at the request of Joseph 400 years earlier. Simply put these 70 elders represent the nation.
These two older sons of Aaron will latter on be wiped out, we are told in Lev. 10:1-2, for acting on the things of God without seeking the mind of God. Their names Nay-dab means liberal and A-by-hu, worshiper really fit the action that took their lives. They were worshiping God according to their will and not God’s just like Cain the brother of Able. Rather then waiting on God who started the fire for the sacrifice they got impatient and started one themselves. This is the cast of characters that God is calling to a closer relationship with Him. Things have not changed much today: We have our repentant murders as was Moses, we to have folks who would rather gripe at God then walk with Him and we even have those that would rather worship God on their terms their way then His. Yet He still desires to draw each of them into a greater relationship to Him.
There are three groups of folks here that can be seen in their proximity to the Lord and I kind of think that we have those same groups in the church today.
- Men and women who stayed outside the barriers of 19:23 and worship the Lord at a distance. They are not able to get any closer to the Lord then the barriers of their lives. There is a cost in growing closer to the Lord and it is accomplished when you decide to cross the barriers that you have placed in your lives. Now it is true that these were barriers to protect them and not ones to separate them but in Christ He has removed the barriers they separate us from greater intimacy with. So if you have a barrier now in your life it is you who has placed it there and not Him.
- Next you have the 70 elders who are able to go beyond the barriers in their lives as they respond to His call upon their lives. Like the elders here they respond to the word of God in different areas of their lives. As they continue to do this they experience intimate fellowship with the Lord but with all of the progress they still have a distance to go even though they are seated at His table for supper.
- Lastly, you have Moses and Joshua, who are invited into the very presence of the Lord and His glory.
Unlike the Israelites we all have the same opportunity to come into His presence. Yet, many choose to not cross the boundaries of their lives and so they stay at the fringes of fellowship with the Lord. Then a few cross over and worship under his feet, but they still are at a distance. How close do you want to be? The choice is up to you. I look at all crises as opportunities to move beyond our comfort zones. As we have just heard these three share a building moment it makes me realize that they are moving beyond the walls that have separated them from greater intimacy with the Lord. Next we see what it will take for us to move beyond the barriers to greater fellowship with the Lord.
Vs. 3 In this verse we see the first part of the signing of the covenant, Moses goes before the people and tells them all of the Word of the Lord as well as His ordinances. God had shared these with Moses as the basis of how they were to maintain a relationship with Him and be a light into the world around them. These guys were going to enter into a relationship with the Lord as He had said in Exodus 6:7 “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.” So how did what Moses do encourage such commitment?
- He told the people all the words of the Lord: The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. What this shows us is the importance of the Word of God in our lives as far as growing in our relationship to Him, but we are faced with a choice to either respond or ignore what the Holy Spirit is telling us. If we choose to respond, then there are two important things to recognize in their response to Moses teaching the Word of the Lord. The first part of this is the response in the form of a “verbal commitment.”
- “All the words which the Lord has said”: What this reveals is that they were willing to move forward in their relationship with the Lord on His terms and not theirs. They wanted to move closer to the Lord and they realized that it was not about doing it their way. The song might be cool when Frank Sinatra would sing, “I did it my way!” but the truth is that you can never grow closer to the Lord by doing it your way. Neither can you say, “Well, some of the word of the Lord we will do.” If you do you will only be able to get as close as the part of the Word of the Lord that you obey.
- “We will do”: Notice that there never was anything that they were forced to do. They were free to respond but it was only in response to all of the word of the Lord that they would experience the fullness of the relationship He had with them.
Vs. 4-8 Next we move into the covenant being confirmed not only verbally but written and signed as well. What is interesting is to see the direct response of the people to Moses as He three separate times brings up the Word of the Lord to the people. In verse 3 Moses told all the people the Word of the Lord and they responded by verbal commitment. Then in verse 4 here He wrote down all the word of the Lord and they respond by preparing a sacrifice and sprinkling blood upon the altar of the Lord. Lastly in Moses reads the covenant to the people and they respond by a verbal commitment which ends up with them being sprinkled with the same blood that was sprinkled upon the alter.
- “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord”: There was a since that a verbal commitment to what Moses had said was not enough. When we hear something that you know that the Lord is telling us and we respond by saying, “Man that really speaks to me!” The next step is writing your commitment down. Some of you take notes on what God is telling you and I believe that this is the first step in making lasting change in one’s life. But look at what they were told to do in response to Moses writing the Word of the Lord down.
- 4 Build an altar with 12 pillars: The 12 pillars we are told represented the 12 tribes. An altar is the place of worship and a place of sacrifice. And the fact that they were to set up 12 pillars tells me that this alter was to represent ALL of the nation. Moses intended to say that they were to completely come and worship in total sacrifice.
- 5-6 The only way that the conditions of the covenant were to be realized by Israel was through the shedding of blood. Verbal obedience was good but the truth of the matter was that they were sinners and it was the shedding of innocent blood that ratified the covenant. Obedience to the Word of the Lord is based upon the work of Jesus and not acting in your own flesh. Fellowship with the Lord is nothing more then our continual choice to respond moment by moment to the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf. The death of innocent lambs reveals that a relationship with the Lord is maintained not by our merit but rather by His grace and our reliance to that grace.
- 7-8 Moses reads what he had just written the “Word of the Lord”. They respond verbally by agree with ALL the Lord has said we will do and obey! They fully understand that what they are about to do is based upon complete surrender to the Lord. The covenant then is signed in blood, but it is not their blood, which is sprinkled upon them it, is the blood of innocent lambs. We grow as we yield our lives over to the Lord because we recognize that He has paid for the opportunity for us to be close to Him.
III.) Vs. 9-11 Under His feet
Vs. 9-11 These 75 folks get to move even closer to the Lord as they see the Lord. We know that they did not see the Lord in the way we see each other for the Bible tell us that no one has seen God except for Jesus. And Jesus said that if you have seen Him then you have seen the Father. Whom did they see? Well I think that they saw Jesus on the throne. But they don’t describe anything except what is under His feet, because they are on their faces before Him in worship so the only good look they get at anything is what is under his feet. It is cool to look at the verse in scripture that speak of seeing God because in every instance they describe similar things. The glory of the Lord was so great that they are worshipping at His feet. It says that it was like sapphire and as clear as the heavens. What great beauty they were taken into. Perhaps, what is described here is the idea of them looking up through the sea of glass around the throne I all they can see is His feet.
We are told in verse 11 that they are amazed when in seeing the glory of the Lord they are still alive. That is what is meant by the phrase in verse 11. To lay a hand upon someone was to kill them. Amazingly that the Holiness of the Lord did not destroy them as they had thought in chapter 20:19. What had made the difference? It was the sprinkled blood. Their lives were protected because they had been sprinkled in the blood of the lamb. There is nothing to keep you from drawing near to the Lord today if you approach Him in the precious blood of His Son!
It says that they not only saw God but that they sat down and had a meal with Him. God never changed who He was to accommodate them. No, through who He was He changed them. So that they could enjoy fellowship with them. It was like the fellowship that He had with Adam and Eve before the fall when He would walk with them in the cool of the day! Oh the potential we all have to come into the Lord’s presence. The only then that limits this is our unwillingness to move forward in every area of our life.
IV.) Vs. 12-18 In His presence
Vs. 12-18 God desires to take Moses even nearer to Him and invites him to come on up the hill so that He can reveal even more of His heart to Moses. It is obvious that Moses was going to spend some time up there as he makes provisions for the nation as he is to be away. The word “glory” in verse 16 is the word shekinah or the presence of the Lord. Now the Sinai looked as if it was on fire from the presence of the Lord but Moses was able to be their 40 days and 40 nights in the presence of the Lord. Again Moses answered the call of God to draw nearer to Him and was rewarded with being in His presence for those 40 days. Growth in Christ is a choice of following the call He has placed upon you to come near to Him. At any time, we can say “No thank you I think I will just stay behind these barriers!” But you miss out on the beauty of fellowship. The Lord is guiding us to a land flowing with milk and honey, are we willing to move out behind the barriers and go for it? If so you will not regret your decision.