God has given the Israelites the 10 commandments and the expectations He has for how they are to live. He has told them what He will do as their “King” by providing for them and blessing them. He is re-establishing the covenant He made hundreds of years ago with Abraham.

We looked yesterday at God’s promises… his part of the bargain with the Israelites. Now it is up to Israel to respond… to ratify the covenant.

Exodus 24:1-18

Then the Lord instructed Moses: “Come up here to me, and bring along Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s elders. All of you must worship from a distance. 2 Only Moses is allowed to come near to the Lord. The others must not come near, and none of the other people are allowed to climb up the mountain with him.”

3 Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”

4 Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent some of the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses drained half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar.

7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.”

8 Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions.”

9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. 10 There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.” 13 So Moses and his assistant Joshua set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God.

14 Moses told the elders, “Stay here and wait for us until we come back. Aaron and Hur are here with you. If anyone has a dispute while I am gone, consult with them.”

15 Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. 16 And the glory of the Lord settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud. 17 To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the Lord appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. 18 Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

To Think About…

What sticks out to you in this story?

There are a couple things that jump out at me. The first is that the people all say that they will obey God, and yet in a couple weeks they’ll break one of the commandments in a big way. The second is that after they affirm their obedience, Moses splatters them with the blood from the sacrificed animals, saying this seals the deal.

What is so significant about blood?

Remember, it was the blood of the passover lamb that saved their firstborn sons. Now blood is used to seal a very solemn, binding covenant between these people and God.

And in relation to this occasion Hebrews 9:18 and 22 reads, “the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal… according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”

The Israelites, like us, were an unholy people. The only way for them to make a covenant with a holy God would be through the shedding of animals’ blood, so that their sins might be forgiven and God’s righteous judgment held back.

Fast forward to the New Testament and the life of Jesus… during the Last Supper (which they celebrated as the Passover Meal) he takes a cup of wine and invites his followers to drink it. He even says in Matthew 26:27-28, “Drink from it, all of you. This is MY BLOOD OF THE COVENANT, which is poured out for many for the FORGIVENESS OF SINS.”

Blood provided the means to secure Israel’s covenant with the Lord. And 2,000 years ago the blood of Jesus provided the means for us to secure an eternal relationship with God!

What can wash away my sins?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.