Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20070207.htm
EXODUS: FUNCTIONING WELL IN A HOPELESS GROUP ASSIGNMENT
Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
K. God's Elaboration And Application Of The Ten Commandments
13. Ratification Of The Book Of The Covenant: Fellowship With God In Submitting To His Word
Lesson: For submitting to the Lord, the elders of Israel enjoyed remarkably close fellowship with Him!
- Even for many Christians, the idea of being "close to God" seems to be a dream they can only imagine.
- Yet, we can enjoy spiritually intimate fellowship with God (1 John 1:7) as Exodus 24:1-11 illustrates:
- Ratification Of The Book Of The Covenant: Fellowship With God In Submitting To His Word.
- After giving Moses the Ten Commandments, God enlarged and applied them in Israel's life so that there would be no possible misunderstanding as to what He meant by them, and this elaboration is known as the "Book of the Covenant" in Exodus 20:22-24:11, Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 140.
- The thirteenth part of that "Book of the Covenant," Exodus 24:1-11, records its ratification when Israel agreed to submit to heeding God's laws, and as a result initially enjoyed close fellowship with God:
- Since the Ten Commandments had been given along with the "Book of the Covenant" that fully described what God expected Israel to do in heeding those commands, the Lord directed Moses and Israel's other spiritual and civic leaders to prepare for the ratification of the covenant, Exodus 24:1-2:
- God called Moses to bring Israel's High Priest, Aaron and his two eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu along with seventy of Israel's elders up to Mount Sinai, Exodus 24:1a,b.
- The plan was for Moses to come up to God on the top of the mount while the other 73 men were to keep a distance from God's presence by ascending only part way up the mount and while the people stayed at the foot of Mount Sinai, Exodus 24:1c-2. This arrangement clearly displayed the organizational structure God ordained for the nation in its relationship to Him!
- Accordingly, Moses began the ratification process by reading all the words of the Ten Commandments and the ensuing "Book of the Covenant" to the people; the people responded to this reading, claiming they would heed all of the words of God's Law, Exodus 24:3.
- Second, Moses wrote down the words God had given him as a record of this covenant, Exodus 24:4a.
- Third, Moses rose early in the next morning and built an altar at the foot of Mount Sinai using 12 stones to depict Israel's 12 tribes, and had young men offer burnt and peace offerings on it, Ex. 24:4-5.
- Fourth, Moses sprinkled half of the blood collected from these sacrifices on the altar to signify God's role in the covenant, and formally read the "Book of the Covenant" to Israel, Exodus 24:6b-7a.
- Fifth, when the people said that they would heed all of God's words, Moses took the rest of the blood he collected in basins and sprinkled it on the people to signify their part in the covenant, 24:6a, 7b-8.
- After this formal ratification ceremony, Moses and the 73 other leaders of Israel ascended Mount Sinai to commune with God by way of a fellowship meal (involving food produced by the sacrifices) that confirmed the covenant and the fellowship they all had as its result, Exodus 24:9.
- This was an amazing event for the men who had not yet been so close to God's glory, Ex. 24:10-11:
- The 73 men with Moses beheld a part of God's great visible glory, Exodus 24:10a. Under His feet was a pavement of what appeared to be a solid sapphire stone, like the appearance of the blue sky for its rich clarity and brilliance, Exodus 24:10b ESV, KJV.
- Though previous admonitions made it a capital offense even to come near Mount Sinai (cf. Exodus 19:12-13), due to the sacrifices that had been offered and their commitment to submit to heeding God's Law, these 73 men beheld a portion of God's great glory at close range, and ate and drank in a fellowship meal in His presence while not being harmed by Him! (Exodus 24:11)
Application: (1) We must recall that our Great God is not opposed to our enjoying close fellowship with Him! (2) However, as God is PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS and SEPARATE (holy) from SIN, we must submit to heed His Word and approach Him by way of the work of Christ on the cross as our Lamb of God for our sin if we wish to enjoy such fellowship! (John 1:29; 1 John 1:7) (3) May we then "walk in the light as He is in the light" of Scripture to know fulfilling fellowship with our wonderful Lord!