Moses on Mt Sinai

It is said that when the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was all alone he so fearful for his safety that his residence in Moscow contained eight bedrooms. Each night Stalin chose a bedroom at random to ensure that no one knew exactly where he was sleeping. (Source unknown). … More

Fearful

Moses was summoned by the Lord to come up on Mount Sinai where he was to receive the tablets of stone, with the law (v. 12). After the meal Moses and his assistant Joshua got ready, then Moses leaves the others behind and proceeds up the mountain (v. 13). Apparently Joshua is allowed to come part way, although just how far is not mentioned. While Moses was gone the leadership of the people was temporarily delegated to his brother Aaron and Hur who was a trusted and respected leader (v. 14). As Moses goes further up the mountain he sees a cloud covering it for six days until God calls to him on the seventh day to enter the cloud with him (vv. 15-16). This cloud is an indication of God’s presence with Moses. His glory  resides in the form of a cloud.

Moses remained on the mountain alone with God for forty days and nights (vv. 17-18). You may be wondering what he could possibly be doing for forty days and forty nights. The answer to this is given in chapters 25 through 31 which tells us about the tabernacle and the instructions for building it that was given to Moses there on Sinai. The cloud’s settling on the mountain thus anticipates the settling of the cloud over the tabernacle (40:34-38).

While Moses was experiencing spiritual victory on the mountain the people of God became fearful because of Moses delay and said: “We don’t know what has happened to him.” They then went to their temporary leader (24:14), Aaron, and asked him to make them gods (32:1-6). He did not have the backbone to stand up to this blatant treason and idolatry. He requested that the people give him all their Gold earrings, which they did. He took these and fashioned them into a molten calf and announced, “These be the gods of Israel.” God then tells Moses that his people have corrupted themselves, are stubborn and do not accept responsibility.

Application

The Israelites soon forgot God and became fearful! When people are gone and situations around me are not familiar, how long does it take me to forget God and become fearful?

Exodus 24:12-18 (English Standard Version)

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." Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

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