A Child's Lenten Meditation-Day 9

At Mount Sinai
1 On [the first day of] the third month after the Israelites left Egypt--on that very day--they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." 7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. 8 The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD. 9 The LORD said to Moses, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you." Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said. 10 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, 'Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. Whether people or animals, they shall not be permitted to live.' Only when the ram's horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain." 14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15 Then he said to the people, "Prepare yourselves for the third day..." 

16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. 20 The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the LORD said to him, "Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will break out against them." 23 Moses said to the LORD, "The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, 'Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.' " 24 The LORD replied, "Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the LORD, or he will break out against them." 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

The story of the Israelites in the wilderness has a fairly consistent theme. They want something they had in Egypt. They complain and grumble and don't trust God. God gives them what they want with plenty of lessons about how they ought to trust Him because he saved them and takes care of them. He gives them water from rocks, food every day that appears on the ground in the night, He protects them in battle. This kind of stuff should be convincing. Israel should see that they can trust in God, that he is with them, and also that they should obey him.

They don't really understand this though. They do a lot of stuff they shouldn't because of this. 

At Mount Sinai God is going to speak to them. He is going to tell them how to live so that they will be happy, healthy and strong.

More than that, God is going to make them into a holy nation, a kingdom of priests.

What do you think that means?

What do priests do?

What does holy mean?

Well, what priests do, their main job, is to bring other people into the presence of the God. To be a go between, or mediator, between God and the people.

So if all of them were going to be priests who would they bring into the presence of God?

Why, the rest of the world of course. (This is all in the prophets and we'll read those verses later on.)

Holy means to be set apart or reserved for a particular function, for God's use.

The people of Israel were meant to all be and live in God's presence, and to show the rest of the nations who God is. They were to be His special people that he used to get done what he wanted to get done on the earth.

How did the people respond to this?

Again, they were afraid and didn't trust.

After God came down on the mountain he started to tell them his laws. He doesn't get very far before "18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." 20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was."

They don't want to have anything to do with listening to God themselves. They are too afraid. They want Moses to be the one who talks to him instead.

When are they going to learn to trust God?



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