Exodus 24:8-14 - And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under His feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And He did not lay His hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank. The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the Law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction." So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them."
This is one of the weirdest passages in Exodus. At the very beginning, we have Moses making a solemn covenant between the people of Israel and God Himself. As part of the ceremony, he even throws the blood of sacrificed animals on the people, as a kind of preview of Jesus' crucifixion and the new covenant in His blood. Then the elders of Israel actually get a chance to see the Lord without dying! To top everything off, God calls Moses up the mountain to receive the Law Israel is supposed to live by, going forward.
What glory! What holiness! You can hardly get a more solemn occasion. And yet, right in the middle of it all, Moses feels the need to take the elders of Israel aside and say, "While I'm gone up the mountain, Aaron and Hur will cover for me. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them."
Moses knows the people too well. It doesn't matter what wonderful or glorious things are happening. It doesn't even matter if God Himself has come down and revealed Himself in bodily form. Back down at the bottom of the mountain, someone in camp is going to have a conflict. Someone is going to need a judge.
How frustrating this is! And yet, it's true to our own lives, too, isn't it? I remember the day my brother and sister and I were baptized. We were in a fight again before our hair was dry.
Thank God for His patience with us. Thank God that He knows us so well, and yet He still doesn't give up on us, doesn't turn away from us forever. Instead, He gives us hope. He establishes a covenant between Him and us through the blood of Jesus' cross. For the rest of eternity, we are His and He is ours—not because we are good or holy, but because He is forgiving. Not because we have earned anything, but because Jesus has—because God will let nothing, not even our worst wickedness, stand between Him and us. Jesus has brought us home to God.
WE PRAY: Lord, forgive my sin and draw me close to You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Was Moses right to expect trouble in the camp? (Read Exodus 32:1-24.)
2. Why do you suppose God kept Israel as His people, even after their sin?
3. Why does God keep you as His beloved child even when you fall? How do you know?
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