Exodus 19

Humble reverence should possess the minds of those who draw near to God for we are sinners in the presence of a holy and righteous Judge;
mean creatures before the Mighty Creator.

1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.

2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.

3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;

4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

7 ¶ And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.

8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.

10 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,

11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:

13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

14 ¶ And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.

15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.

16 ¶ And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.

18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.

22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.

23 And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.

24 And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.

25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

Exodus 19:1-15 – Moses Receives Jehovah’s Words in the Mount

   The plain beneath Sinai, where Israel encamped, has been identified, and the reader should study the books of travelers which afford a mental conception of the scene. The brilliant colors, in which red sandstone predominates; the shattered, thunder-stricken peaks; the awful silence; the utter absence of vegetation; the level plain giving abundant opportunity for all to hear and see—all these deserve notice. The tenderness of the divine address is very touching. Nor are we excluded from these promises, if we are among Abraham’s spiritual children. See Romans 4:10. If God could carry this multitude of people, He is sufficient for us and our burdens. We also may be His peculiar treasure and a kingdom of priests.
   But Israel’s solemn pledge was a profound mistake. Had they known themselves better, they would never have made it, and one design of the Decalogue was to show how absolutely impossible it is for any to be justified by the works of the Law. Pentecost, which Whitsuntide commemorates, took place on the anniversary of this august scene. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Exodus 19:5 – A peculiar Treasure unto Me.

   Our Savior told of a man who, in plowing his field, heard his plough-share chink against buried treasure, and hastened to sell all that he had in order to buy it. In speaking thus, He pictured Himself as well as us. He found us before we found Him. The treasure is his people, to purchase whom He gave up all that He had, even to his throne (Matthew 13:44). “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9).
   Where his treasure is, there is a man’s heart. If it is in ships on the treacherous sea, he tosses restlessly on his bed, solicitous for its safety. If it is in fabrics, he guards against moth; if in metal, against rust and thieves. And is Christ less careful for his own? Does He not guard with equal care against all that would deteriorate our value in his esteem? Need we fear the thief? Will not the Only-begotten keep us, so that the evil one shall not touch us (Matthew 6:19-20)?
   God’s treasure is his for ever. “They shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” He will hold his own, as men cling to their treasure, binding it about their loins, in a storm at sea (Malachi 3:17).
   Let us mind the conditions: to obey his voice, and keep his covenant; then on eagles’ wings He will bring us to Himself. Compliance with these is blessed in its results. God regards us with the ecstasy of a love that rejoices over us with singing; and counts on us as a mother on her child, a miser on his gold. —Our Daily Homily

Exodus 19:16-25 – The People Warned not to Approach the Mount

   The holiness of God was taught in object lessons. The people must wash their garments, the mount must be fenced in, not a beast might graze upon the slopes, not a hand might touch the holy soil. Moses must twice descend to warn the people, Exodus 19:14, 21, 25. Only he and Aaron might ascend. All was done to convince the people of the vast distance that intervened between themselves and God. It was the awe engendered by such provisions, and which pervaded the ancient dispensation, that led Peter to cry, when the divine glory of Jesus smote upon him: “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).
   Dare to believe that beneath every cloud of soul-anguish, bereavement, and trial, you will find the burning love of God. Clouds and darkness may be round about Him, but faithfulness and truth, judgment and mercy are at the foundation of His throne. Listen to the voice that bids you enter the pavilion, and remember Hebrews 12:18, etc. —Through the Bible Day by Day