Mercy on a Mountain 1

Today's Bible reading: Exodus 19:16-19

Last week we spoke of God revealing Himself to Moses in a special way there at the burning bush.  Today we find God speaking on the top of Mount Sinai … and in both instances, God reveals Himself as one to be feared.  Thunder and lightning … a trumpet blast … fire … and a voice sounding like thunder are preludes to a frightening theophany – a special manifestation of God.  This, also, is a holy place in which sinful people face a God who is totally different from themselves – totally other.

Mount Sinai is a model for the tabernacle about to be set up.  The peak is the Holy of Holies … the mountain itself the Holy Place … and the surrounding plain the court.  The Ten Commandments also begin with one which establishes Israel's worship: they are to have only one God.

God's first words to Moses at Sinai are nothing less than amazing. He is the covenant God who is about to bind Himself to His people: they are to be His special people … His own possession among all the other nations of the world: They are to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  All that He requires in return is obedience.

That is the setting for the giving of the Ten Commandments.  It is not the case that Israel's obedience establishes the covenant.  No – their obedience is merely the fitting response to God's grace – the sign that Israel is indeed God's holy - set-apart - nation.

Prayer: Lord, lead us in productive labor and healing rest, even as You labored to grant us rest by your cross and resurrection.  Amen