Friday, October 07, 2022

2022.10.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 24:1–11

Read Exodus 24:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Yahweh address in Exodus 24:1? To Whom does He say to come? What other three, specifically, does He say to bring with him? And how many from what other group? What are they to do? From where? Who shall come near (Exodus 24:2)? To Whom? Who shall not? Who else shall not do what? To whom does Moses come in Exodus 24:3? How many, of what two things, does he tell them? Who answer? How much of what do they say that they will do? Then what does Moses do (Exodus 24:4)? How many of Whose words? When does he rise? What two types of things does he build? How many of each? Whom does he send in Exodus 24:5? To do what? What two types of offerings? Unto Whom? What does Moses take in Exodus 24:6? How much? In what? And what does he do with the other half? What does he take in Exodus 24:7 (cf. Exodus 24:4)? What does he do with it? in whose hearing? What do they repeat (cf. Exodus 24:3)? What do they now add? Now what does Moses take in Exodus 24:8 (cf. Exodus 24:6)? What does he do with it? Onto whom? What does he call the blood? Who has made this covenant? According to what? Who go up in Exodus 24:9? Whom do they “see” (Exodus 24:10)? What appeared to be under His feet? What did it look like? What doesn’t He do to whom in Exodus 24:11? With what three, quick, statements does the Spirit summarize this visit?

How can the new church/state survive the nearness of God? Exodus 24:1–11 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that by God’s binding Himself to them by blood, His people are able safely to dwell with Him.

The command in Exodus 24:1 is surprising in light of Exodus 19:12. Anyone who touched the mountain was to be killed, and now a party of seventy-four are being commanded to go up and worship from a distance. Only Moses could go to the top, but the representatives of Israel as a church (Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu) and as a state (the seventy elders) could go up partway, while the people as a whole must not come up with their leaders (Exodus 24:2). It is perhaps not quite as surprising that they see some sort of display of God (theophany) in Exodus 24:10. For, the Lord has made other displays of Himself, and He has just finished describing how He will (continue to) appear as His Angel who goes before them through the wilderness (cf. Exodus 23:21, Exodus 13:21, Exodus 14:19). 

The result in Exodus 24:11 is surprising. “so they saw God, and they ate and drank.” They have not only safety but provision and fellowship. Even on the mountain of God. Even within “sight” of God. Even with display in Exodus 24:10 implying that heaven has invaded earth. How were they able safely to do this?

The book of the covenant. The first part of how they were able to approach the Lord safely, and experience the Lord safely, is that God Himself initiates by way of His Word. Moses tells the people “all the words of Yahweh” (Exodus 24:3). The people say “all the words Yahweh has said we will do” (verse 3). Moses writes down “all the words of Yahweh (Exodus 24:4). He reads the book in Exodus 24:7, and the people say, “All that Yahweh has said we will do.” Finally, Moses announces that Yahweh has made covenant with them “according to all these words.”

The Lord alone is the Initiator of the covenant. It is formed according to His Words. Man cannot initiate. Man cannot come up with the way of coming to God. Indeed, Israel as a church and as a state would fail to do what they promise here. Only with Christ as Priest and Christ as King can such an arrangement hold up.

The blood of the covenant. Moses builds an altar in Exodus 24:5 for the Lord, and twelve pillars before it for the people who are represented in their seventy elders. The application of blood to two parties is a common feature of ancient near eastern treaties/covenants, and we see it here. Half of the blood from the offerings in verse 5 is poured onto the altar. Half of it is poured upon the people. 

By this pouring ceremony, Yahweh and His people were identified with one another. The people were atoned for and consecrated by the shed blood from the sacrifice that bore the fire of the wrath. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. This of course looks forward to Christ and to Christian baptism, the sign by which the Lord identifies with Himself the members of the visible church under the administration of Christ. Christ’s blood being shed once for all, He commands instead that water be poured, even as He pours His Spirit, Who applies His saving blood to us.

It is important that we remember that not every member of the visible church is safe. Of Aaron’s sons, the Lord specifically selects Nadab and Abihu, who receive mention both in Exodus 24:1 and in Exodus 24:9. Nadab and Abihu will survive the visit to the mountain and the meal in Exodus 24:11, but not many days from now they will fail to survive their first day as ordained priest (cf. Leviticus 10:1–7). The outward sign may seal salvation unto faith, and the Lord thus blesses it to all whom He is bringing to faith. But without faith it remains merely outward, devoid of spiritual efficacy, and it will be found at last even to have testified against them.

Who can make the way for you to be safe in God’s presence? What is the way that He has made? What are the two covenant signs by which He displays that way of being safe? 

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for bringing us near to Yourself by Your covenant in our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has kept all of Your words in our behalf. For His sake, forgive us, and bring us at last into every blessing of Your everlasting covenant, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”

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