Meditation: Exodus 24 (1 of 3)

Reading: Exodus 24:1-7

In this passage God confirms His covenant with Israel by a solemn ceremony. The covenant is the formal and holy relationship between God and Israel, His special treasure (Exodus 19:5). God has the authority to make this covenant since He was Israel’s (and the world’s) creator and their Redeemer. In this covenant God promises to bless the Israelites and their generations “for an everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7). Indeed even “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).  The people in turn must be holy, that is, obedient to the covenant conditions. Disobedience will result in curses and punishment.

To impress upon Israel the seriousness of the covenant, God commands Moses to arrange the ceremony with all the people present. The ceremony has the following elements: the parties (God and the people); terms of the covenant (the Book of the covenant), altar for sacrifices, twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes and blood.

In Exodus 20-23 God gave to Moses, the Ten Commandments, their application and warnings. Moses faithfully repeats God’s words to the Israelites and all the people promise “All the words which the LORD has said we will do.” God’s words are never to be forgotten therefore Moses writes them down in “the Book of the Covenant” (vs 7).

Moses then leads the solemn ceremony. Burnt offerings and peace offerings are made; the blood is collected with half sprinkled on the altar. The Book of the Covenant is read so the people hear the contents of the covenant a second time to ensure they understand it and its implications. The people respond again “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient” (Vs 7). This is a very important moment, because the people are making a very far reaching promise of faithfulness to the covenant. They know: obedience will be blessed, but disobedience cursed.

Key text: Exodus 24:7 “And they said, ‘All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.’ ”

Question: The people of Israel cannot keep the promise made in Exodus 24:7 because they are sinful. We make a similar promise when we do public profession of faith; and we cannot keep it either. Why then do we still make the promise?