The unapproachable glory of God tells a sinner to keep off,
but the altar shows him how he can feast and worship in God’s presence.
1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
3 ¶ And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
9 ¶ Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
12 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
Exodus 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 24:1-11 – The Covenant Made and Sealed by Blood
Moses remained in communion with God while receiving the laws of the preceding chapters. When they were concluded he descended to ratify with all solemnity the Covenant between Jehovah and Israel. If the altar represented God’s side of the transaction, the twelve pillars stood for Israel. The young men filled the priestly office according to Exodus 13:2, and until the Levites were appointed. It must have been a solemn spectacle as the sprinkled blood sealed the covenant. But let us turn from that first covenant, sealed with the blood of beasts, to the New Covenant, by which all the Church of the Redeemed are bound to God, and which was sealed by the shedding of the precious blood of Christ. “This is my blood of the new testament” (Matthew 26:28), said Jesus, when handing round the wine. See Hebrews 9:18-20, and Exodus 13:20. The Lord’s Supper is a perpetual reminder of our obligations. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 24:11 – They saw God, and did eat and drink.
It is a beautiful combination, which we should do well to emulate.
Some eat and drink, and do not behold God.—They are taken up with the delights of sense. Their one cry, as the children of this world, is, What shall we eat, what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed? But the God in whose hand their breath is and whose are all their ways, they do not glorify. Let us beware; it was of Christian professors that the Apostle said, Their god is their belly.
Some behold God, and do not eat and drink.—They look on God with such awful fear that they isolate Him from the common duties of life. They draw a strict line between the sacred and secular, between Sunday and weekday, between God’s and their own. This divorce between religion and daily life is fatal to true religion, which was meant to be the bond between the commonest details of life and the service of God.
Some behold God, and eat and drink.—They turn from the commonest avocations to look up into his face. They glorify God in their body as well as in their spirit. They obey the apostle’s injunction, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Oh for the grace to be able to combine the vision of God with every common incident—to live always beneath his eye in the unrestrained gladness of little children in their Father’s presence!
Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear;
Never a sorrow that He doth not share–
Moment by moment I’m under his care. —Our Daily Homily
Exodus 24:12-18 – There were four concentric circles, so to speak, represented as gathered around the burning center of the Divine Presence. In the outer circle, the people, Exodus 24:2, 17; next, the seventy elders, Exodus 24:9, 14; then, Joshua, Exodus 24:13; 32:17, and lastly, Moses, Exodus 24:18. These represent respectively, the unenlightened; those whose religious life is hindered by their excessive devotion to the flesh; the few whose fellowship is liable to be interrupted by the war-clarion; and those who have been made nigh unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord, and have been baptized into the Holy Spirit. To which group have we attained? We are invited to draw nigh, let us act on the invitation. See Hebrews 10:19, 20. There is always room at the top, and there we may stand, beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. Notice that God said, Come up to Me. He longs to have our love and faith; His delights are with the sons of men; at great cost He has opened the door of access, Romans 5:1, 2. —Through the Bible Day by Day