Well, we’re on to the book of Numbers. It’s easy, when you have some limited knowledge of the Bible (who really has unlimited knowledge) to see Numbers and think, “Oh man, not more of this genealogy stuff.” And that has been my reaction as well, but there is so much more to this book than just the genealogies and families ofIsrael. This is whereIsraelfinally leaves Sinai and goes to the land that has been promised to them. This is where all kinds of spiritual debate occurs, and where the people of Israel have to turn around and ask themselves the question “Am I really going to do what God / YHWH is calling me to do?” It’s a book of tough decisions, major successes, and major failures. It is a book of people responding to overwhelming challenges and finding out what they’re really made of. I know I don’t exactly come through with flying colors in those kinds of situations, and that’s what these men and women face day by day.
In one sense, if I could go back to Biblical times and experience and live what occurred in those times, this is one of those times I would love to be a part of. To see God / YHWH leading the people day-by-day. To be a part of the amazing wonders that were occurring all around. To have that chance and opportunity to be a daily part of what God / YHWH was doing. That is worth all the treasures and all the wonders in all the world. Not to be my own master, but to serve the only one worthy of serving. Do we have that attitude day after day? We have the chance to be a part of something so much greater than we are, and yet we would rather pursue our own miserable little lives doing what we want, the way we want to, even if it means we live our lives miserable and with no lifetime value. So much so that we lose out on what God / YHWH wants for us, and we have to pass that opportunity on to our kids, unfulfilled. Then they have to live what God / YHWH has planned for us rather than what He has for them that requires a foundation of what we were supposed to do.
Are we living our lives for Him, or for us?
After going through Exodus like this; i’ve come to understand it a little bit better. Exodus is more than just about YHWH bringing his people out of Egypt and rescuing them from Pharaoh. It’s more than about bringing them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai. It’s even more than about bringing the people of Israel face-to-face with God. The conclusion that i’ve come to is that Exodus is about fulfilling a promise and it’s about giving the people true worship.
YHWH had made a promise to Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob about their descendants; that he would make their descendants a great nation and that he would bring them out of Egypt. This is the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise. The people of Israel have become vast in number, yet they have turned against each other. In fact, they have united against Egypt and become a unified nation in spite of being 12 separate tribes. YHWH has led them out of Egypt and brought them to Himself. He made promises to Moses and to the people as well, and is fulfilling them.
What is worship, and what place does it have in our lives? The only understanding of God that the people of Israel had was that He was the God of their fathers, and what limited experience and information had been passed down through the generations. The people knew that there was a God of their fathers, but they had no understanding of who He was / is and what His purpose was for them. There was a need and a desire for God. There was a drive to know and worship Him. There was a pursuit of God, but there was no fulfillment. That, i believe, was YHWH’s greatest gift to the people of Israel in the book of Exodus. Not the parting of the Red Sea… not water from a rock… not manna… not the destruction of Egypt… not even freedom from slavery or the unification of a nation. No, the greatest gift that YHWH gave to the Israelites in Exodus, was the ability to worship Him. It was the fulfillment of their need and purpose. That’s the true jewel of the book of Exodus.
Everything has finally settled down. The masses have found a semblance of peace and are ready to handle themselves while Moses goes up the mountain again. God calls Moses, and he responds. He returns to Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights again where he brings two new stone tablets for the LORD to write on.
This is the same type of incident as before, but things have changed. There are definitely some key and significant differences. One of the beautiful things that happens here is that Moses relationship and connection with YHWH appear to have made some definite improvements. He is there for the same role and the same purpose as he was before, but Moses seems to have more responsibility as well as more depth in relationship with YHWH. The connection is much more direct and face to face. So much so that when Moses comes down this time, his face is shining so brightly that the people can’t even look at him. Their response is to fear him, and it is only after covering his face with a veil that he is able to come before the people. This covering of God’s glory, outpouring through Moses, continues each time he meets with YHWH. The veil becomes a constant reminder of Moses connection and response to God.
During this time on the mountain, YHWH decides to make note of the people’s tendency towards idolatry, He makes it clear to them that they are to destroy ALL evidence of the nations that exist in the land of Canaan, and to tear down anything that represents their false gods. This is more than just a command. This is a mandate. This is the direction that the people must take, even though God already knows that they are not going to. It is a notice that must be made and a direction that must be followed.
They have come to the Mountain of God (Elohim). All that has happened in Egypt and in the wilderness has been in preparation for this. When Moses told Pharaoh to let the people go, it was to bring them to this; “We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD (YHWH) our God (Elohim) as He commands us.” So now here they are (three months later) at the foot of Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.
God is getting ready to speak with the people of Israel, so he first meets with Moses in order to get the people prepared to meet with Him. The people are given a few simple instructions before they come near to God. God instructs Moses to consecrate the people, they must wash their clothes, and the men must abstain from a woman for the three days. When they do come to the mountain of God, they must not touch the mountain. Anyone who does must be killed and their bodies not touched… this is obviously very serious.
The third day finally comes and Moses goes up Mount Sinai to meet with God, but YHWH wants to make sure that the people are not going to break through to see Him. So, He sends Moses back down to remind the people that they cannot touch the Mountain of God, and for Moses to bring Aaron back up with him.
So that naturally leads to the question, do we prepare to meet with God? When we go to spend time with YHWH, do we prepare ourselves? Do we understand that our God is the God of such Holiness, that any sin we bring into His presence is a foul stench in His nostrils? Are we preparing ourselves to meet with Him, or is He of such little regard to us that it doesn’t matter what kind of state we are in? The beautiful thing is that we do not need two days of preparation and abstaining from sexual intercourse in order to meet with Him. With the blood of Christ through repentance we are made clean. We are able to come into the presence of God cleaned from the inside. We are prepared through repentance and the blood.
When you come to God, do you come prepared? I know that repentance is something that i just do not do as i should, so that is something that i need to work on.
Rev. John Camiolo Jr.