Friday 27 April 2012

Bible Book:

"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 commandment, which I have written for their instruction.'" (v. 12)

Exodus 24: 1-18 Friday 27 April 2012

After the interpretation of the Commandments found in Exodus20:22 - 23:33 (The Book of the Covenant), the narrative returnsto the holy mountain, where Moses meets God again. In a similar wayto the patriarch Jacob who raised a stone pillar to mark the placeof his encounter with God at Bethel (Genesis28:18), Moses raises twelve stone pillars for the twelve tribesof Israel (verse 4).

Although the chapter begins with Aaron and his sons and 70 eldersaccompanying Moses, it is only Moses who is to go into the presenceof God. But first he has important tasks to perform. He must makeblood sacrifices, and drench the people in blood. Alongside thisdramatic action, emphasising the importance of the Covenant, Mosesreads from the Book of the Covenant, to which the people respond"All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient"(v. 7).

However Aaron and an inner group are also privileged to have anencounter with God. What's more, despite what we read in Exodus33:20, where God says, "No one shall see me and live", they areunharmed.

Nevertheless, it is still only Moses who is allowed direct accessto God on the mountain, where again there is cloud and fire toaccompany the divine presence. In this chapter we are introduced tothe tablets of stone on which are written the "law and thecommandment" (v. 12). Moses seems to make some attempt to writethings down (verse 4), but the tablets he receives on the mountainare written by God. After six days preparation, Moses enters intothe presence of God, where he remains for forty days and nights.This proves rather too long for the Israelites. They probablybelieve that Moses has perished on the mountain, and they make agolden calf to worship. So when Moses returns, he is so enragedthat he breaks the two tablets of stone (Exodus32:19). Later (Exodus 34:4) he carves two further tablets ofstone.

To Ponder

The phrase "written on tablets of stone" is oneof many biblical phrases that have passed into everyday language.What do you understand it to mean?

Have you ever been especially aware of theawesome nature of God? What brought this about? Was it in aparticular place?

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