22 Mar. Exodus 19:1-11,14-19

22 Mar. The Israelites prepare to meet God on Mt Sinai

“Exactly three months after the Israelites had left Egypt, they reached the Desert of Sinai. When they left Rephidim, they came to the Desert of Sinai and camped in the desert in front of the mountain.”

“Then Moses went up on the mountain to God. The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, ‘Say this to the family of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: “Every one of you has seen what I did to the people of Egypt. You saw how I carried you out of Egypt, as if on eagle’s wings. And I brought you here to me.”’”

“’”So now if you obey me and keep my agreement, you will be my own possession, chosen from all nations. Even though the whole earth is mine, you will be my kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” You must tell the Israelites these words.’”

“So Moses went down and called the elders of the people together. He told them all the words the LORD had commanded him to say. All the people answered together, ‘We will do everything he has said.’ Then Moses took their answer back to the LORD.”

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will come to you in a thick cloud and speak to you. The people will hear me speaking with you and will always trust you.’ Then Moses told the people what the LORD had said.”

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and have them spend today and tomorrow preparing themselves. They must wash their clothes and be ready by the day after tomorrow. On that day I, the LORD, will come down on Mount Sinai, and all the people will see me…’”

“After Moses went down from the mountain to the people, he made them prepare themselves for service to God, and they washed their clothes. Then Moses said to the people, ‘Be ready in three days. Do not have sexual relations during this time.’”

“On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning with a thick cloud on the mountain. There was a very loud blast from a trumpet, and all the people in the camp trembled.”

“Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD came down on it in fire. The smoke rose from the mountain like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook wildly.”

“The sound from the trumpet became louder. Then Moses spoke, and the voice of God answered him…”

          (Exodus 19:1-11,14-19)

 


 

Exactly three months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites reached the Sinai Desert.

When God had appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush on Mount Sinai in c.1452BC, he had told Moses, “after you lead the people out of Egypt, all of you will worship me on this mountain” (Exodus 3:12).

Now, six years later, Moses had successfully led the people of Israel (Jacob’s descendants) out of Egypt and had brought them to meet their God at the foot of Mount Sinai.

This was a most holy moment when the people had to be as pure and clean as they could be in order to meet a pure and holy God.

So God told Moses they were to prepare themselves by ritually cleansing themselves for three days. This involved washing themselves thoroughly from head to toe, washing their clothes, and abstaining from sexual relations during these three days.

Only after they had fully cleansed themselves and were physically and spiritually purified, were they ‘clean’ enough to meet with God.

So the Israelites spent two whole days cleansing themselves of sin, and preparing to meet God at the ‘mountain of God’ (known as Mt Horeb, Mt Sinai or 'Gebal Mousa' – The ‘Mountain of Moses’).

On the third day, the mountain shook (Mt Sinai is in an active earthquake zone alongside a major fault in the earth’s crust), smoke rose from the mountain, and an angelic trumpet announced the coming of the King of Kings.

The people were terrified and waited fearfully to hear God’s words thunder down on them from the brightness coming out of the cloud covering the mountain. The most momentous meeting in history was about to take place…

The photo (by Muhammed Moussa) shows the summit of Mount Sinai or ‘Gebel Mousa’ - the 'Mountain of Moses'.

You can read more about the Israelites’ encounter with God on Mt Sinai @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/25-the-israelites-journey-from-egypt-to-mt-sinai/moses-receives-the-ten-commandments/


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