(Exodus 24, John 3; Optional Psalm 50:1-15, Proverbs 14:5-9)
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EXODUS 24 – Yahweh has given the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-18) and some details of His law. He is about to give full instructions on building the Tabernacle and how He is to be worshiped by Israel, but first there is a covenant meal and sacrifices and blood sprinkled and the covenant confirmed.
Ex 24:1-2 – Giving the command invitation that is followed in v 9-11. There are three levels of distance from God’s holy presence, just like there will be in the Tabernacle. The people are quite far off, some of the leaders can get somewhat closer, and only one can draw near to the presence of God. The first time the people got a glimpse of God’s holy glory was in Ex 20:18-21 and they were so terrified (mostly correct, but instructed about in Ex 20:20) that they recognized they needed a mediator to stand between them and God’s holy presence. In the New Covenant, though pastoral leadership is still restricted to qualified men (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim 2:12-3:7), drawing near to the Lord is open for ALL who are in Christ – see the clear command / invitation in Heb 4:14-16, 10:19-22.
Ex 24:3-8 – The covenant between God and people involves proper sacrifice and blood shed – THIS is how weighty our sin is. In commenting on the tremendous amount of sacrifices and blood sprinkling is called for in the Old Testament, Heb 9:22 says: “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Of course blood was needed for the New Covenant also, but it’s the blood of Jesus (see Lk 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, Heb 9:18-26).
Ex 24:9-14 – You might think that such an incredible experience with God would forever guard these men from false worship, but see what happens not long after this with Nadab and Abihu in Lev 10! And see what happens only 40 days later with Aaron (who was so helpful in Ex 17:10-12 and he and Hur were left in charge here while Moses was meeting with God) – see Ex 32. Sadly, the hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing is right – “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
Ex 24:17 – “devouring / consuming fire” – I’ve written in my margin “Heb 12:28-29,” which says: “…let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” How does this fit with the invitations to draw near in Heb 4:14-16, 10:19-22?? We ARE to draw near, but with a HUMBLE BOLDNESS, very aware that we are sinners that deserve God’s eternal judgment in hell. But through Jesus and HIS blood we have a way to draw near to God without judgment. But we should be on guard against an easy familiarity. In services of gathered worship that I help to lead, I prayerfully aim for the worship response called for in Psalm 2:11 – “rejoice with trembling.”