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102 - Now That's a Mountaintop Experience!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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July 14, 2022 3:16 am

102 - Now That's a Mountaintop Experience!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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July 14, 2022 3:16 am

Episode 102 - Now That's a Mountaintop Experience! (9 July 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. So everybody knows that Moses went up on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, but how does Exodus actually describe the mountain? Well, it says the people looked at it and it looked like a devouring fire. And yet Moses walks right into it.

Yeah, and not only does he walk into it, he stays up there for 40 days. Oh my gosh. We need to look into this today on More Than Ink. Well, a great good morning to you. This is Jim.

And this is Dorothy. And we are excited to come back to the narrative in Exodus. We spent the last, what is it, about three chapters looking at the working out or the fitting of the Ten Commandments to the actual society that would become the new nation of Israel. And this is the chapter actually where it says that Moses actually wrote it down. And he wrote it down.

He wrote it down for the people, but it's not yet written on stone. Exactly. We're going to get to that part in this chapter. Yeah, but we didn't have any action since Exodus 20, I think it is. So now the action comes back. We're still at Mount Sinai and at the top of it. And the covenant is going to become unveiled in a very clear way here as God meets with Moses and Aaron and the elders. It's just very exciting. So today we go to the top of the mountain. Are you ready? Yeah.

It's an amazing account. And we probably need to say right up front that this really connects to the end of the previous chapter. And so let me just remind you that kind of toward the end of the previous chapter in verse 21 and 22 of chapter 23, he had said, Now pay careful attention to the angel of the Lord who's going before you. Don't rebel against him. Listen to him. Obey his voice. But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I'll be an enemy to your enemies, an adversary to your adversary. So he's setting up the covenant idea that God will give the direction and you will agree and you will go forward in relationship with God on that basis. So that kind of sets us up. So after all of that, then in chapter 24, then he says to Moses, Now you come up. Right.

And it is interesting. I mean, in contrast, the story could have gone that God came, sprung him out of Egypt, got him into the desert and aimed him toward the promised land and said, Well, guys, good luck with it from now on. I did what I needed to do, which is to spring you from Egypt and I'll see you later.

Tell me how everything works out. But this is a guy who sprung them out of Egypt so that he could actually dwell with them. Yeah. And bring them into a covenant relationship. A covenant relationship. So God doesn't just spring us from jails to get us free. He springs us from jails to have relationship. Well, and what he gave them in the wilderness was primarily himself.

That's right. He gave them a way of meeting with him. He gave them his word. He gave them manna.

He really showed them who he was to them and his intention to live in relationship with them. Yeah, I think we'll talk more about that when we finish this chapter, because it's really it's a fascinating thing what happens. This is a pivot point in Exodus, because everything that happens after this is in the context of that. So we'll talk about that. So let's just do it.

Let's just do it. Chapter 24. Why don't you read for us from verse one.

Okay. So then he said to Moses, come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and 70 of the elders of Israel and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near and the people shall not come up with him. Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, all the words of the Lord has spoken, we will do. And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and 12 pillars, according to the tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. Can we stop there for just a minute?

Sure, we can stop anywhere. Because he's setting it up now at this point in verse six, it's going to get very serious, but we're still just recounting what happened. But isn't it interesting how already he has said now, you're going to come gather Aaron and Nadab and Abihu, which are his two older sons. And later on in the story, we find out something very interesting about them. But at this point, they're still... Are they the two guys from the censer incident? Those are the two that get burned up.

Yeah. And that is in Leviticus 10, if you want to go and read that. And if you look at your cross references in your column, you can find out that story about Nadab and Abihu. Well, you can just find out who they are.

It's usually a cross reference, you can figure it out. Well, they already were mentioned way back early, because Aaron had four sons that were mentioned, but these seem to be the older two. So this is apparently a very important meeting at the top of the mountain.

Moses, Aaron, his two sons, seven of the elders. I mean, it's a really big deal. Something really big is going down here. And yet even out of them, only Moses is allowed to really come near to the Lord. At this point.

At this point, yeah. And they do come up, and they receive something remarkable, I think. And it says all the words of the Lord that the Lord has spoken, we will do, they said in response.

And that actually triggers a problem. Because we know when we read those words right there, that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. They're not going to do what God asks of them. And it invokes... Well, it's not that they're not going to do it. They're not going to be able to do it. Not going to be able to.

Not going to do it. Right. Right.

And so this is the conflict that happens right here. There's this requirement for being a citizen of God's kingdom. And God's going to make very clear what that is. But they're not going to be able to do that. And that sort of forms the basis, which they don't know yet, for solving the problem of their own sins. And they had already said that back in chapter 19. They did.

Quite. When the Lord said, now if you'll obey my voice and keep my commandments, this is 19.5, then I'll be to you a kingdom, or you'll be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the sons of Israel. And all the people said, yep, we will, we will, we will. They didn't yet have the complete words unpacked. But they already had said, we'll do everything you say. So it was their intention to obey.

This is the tension, which you just read. It's an interesting one-two punch, where Moses brings this stuff. They say, yes, we'll do it. And he says, you got to go sacrifice some animals.

Well, what? Why do we need to do that? Well, because we're going to be making a covenant. God is making covenant with you. We're about to enter the actual ceremony, this covenant ceremony, which always required a sacrifice over the agreement. Well, and I might add too, the sacrifice is always needed because of the sin. So this covenant, this covenant with God, that's going to be, you know, it's going to be cemented with these sacrifices.

Why sacrifices? Well because the covenant is going to be there, but sin's a problem right in the middle of the covenant. And so what cements the covenant is the sin atonement to these animals. Well there are two offerings here listed in verse five.

There's the burnt offering and this peace offering, right? So this blood represents the life, right? Our life is forfeit if we break this covenant. And that's why you've got to look at the blood very carefully here.

It's not just a weird kind of a cultic symbol, I mean in Leviticus he tells us that there's the life of the flesh is in the blood. So when you see being blood spilled, it's being shed for someone, so life is coming from something to someone. So it's actually the pouring out of life from one to another. So this is life and death business.

This is life and death business. Entering relationship with God. The outpouring of one life for another. And why would that be necessary?

Because of the shortfall of sin. So this is all going to be tied into this. As we read forward now, listen carefully for what happens to the blood. Because this is very important.

Yeah, if you remember this is life being poured out for another. Okay. You're going to read?

No, go ahead. Okay, starting in verse six. Six. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. And then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people.

And they said, all that the Lord has spoken we will do and we will be obedient. And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words. Okay, so where did the blood go? It went on the altar. Two places. Two places, it went on the altar and it went on the people over the book of the covenant. The words of God that they were agreeing to obey and live according to.

Yeah. And it's not rocket science symbolism, but there's a strong symbolism here where you see God's words read. You see a sacrifice after that.

You see the receiving of those words like, yeah, we heard it, we do this. And then you see the receiving of the sacrifice, receiving of the result of the sacrifice. That four step process is very New Testamenty. Well, and before we're done here, I want to make sure that we point out the contrast between this old covenant and the new covenant, because what you just said in that sequence is very important. Very important, yeah.

The giving of the word and then the sacrifice, the blood sacrifice, and then the receiving and the celebration of doing life together from that point forward. And our participation in that solution. Yeah. And that's what happens here.

So that's the picture that's being laid out here. This is the official ceremony. And I was trying to remember, maybe you can remember more, but this is my only memory of where the blood was actually sprinkled on the people, as opposed to something else. I think that actually was the form of the covenant, but you're right.

This is the initial one. But it's very clear here. So if the flowing of the blood is the outpouring of one life to another, the life is coming from the sacrificed animals, and it's going directly onto the people. Yeah. So you can see that they've lost their lives.

And this is the only way that they get life. So in between the shedding of the blood and the blood being sprinkled on the people is the word of God, what God has said. So when we come to think about prefiguring Jesus, He is the living word, become flesh, that we saw. He gave His blood and we receive the benefit of that. So we'll unpack that a little bit more later, but I want you to start thinking about that now.

Yeah. In the upper room, Last Supper, He says, this is my blood of the covenant. So when they heard that phrase, they would instantly flashback to Exodus 24. This is the new covenant in my blood, not the blood of bulls and goats.

As Hebrews tells us, the blood of bulls and goats never did anything. So if we stand back for a second, we see a profound covenant happening, a covenant that ties God and man together. I mean, even symbolically with the blood going on the altar and the blood going on the people, the people's need for life, which they don't have, and the solution to that life, which is coming from the sacrifice to this all tied together in this covenant. And again, don't just get glazed over religious eyes and say, well, it's just a goofy covenant and you're going to throw blood all over the place. There's great and profound and well understood meaning in this blood. Well maybe we'd better take just a second and define what a covenant is.

Oh, that's a good idea. A covenant is a very solemn binding agreement to do life together based on a promise. I will be for you and you will be for me. From this point on, we have agreed to do life together in a certain way. And you said the keyword is primarily relational. Yes, it is relational.

Primarily relational. And we see it in our modern culture most obviously in a marriage vows to one another. That's a mutual covenant. Well, this is a mutual covenant. Even if you buy into a particular neighborhood, you have a covenant that determine how you will all keep your yards, right? So that's kind of a frivolous idea of how you're going to do life together. It's still something that makes the relationship possible. Okay, so we need to press on because there's some huge things coming in this passage. We do. Well, let me take it from verse nine.

Okay. Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and the 70 of the elders of Israel went up and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet, as it were, a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel.

They beheld God and ate and drank. Okay, stop. I know.

This is stunning. I thought no man could see God and live, right? And even Jesus said in John six, no man has ever seen God. Right. Right. So what were they seeing? What did they see? Yeah.

And in fact, I went and chased that down to see if I was thinking of this wrong, but that's what it is. I mean, later in Exodus 33, you cannot see my face for men shall not see me and live. And then even beginning of John one, when John writes to the gospel, no one has ever seen God, the only God who's the father side.

He has made him known, but no one has ever seen God. Right. But just before John says that, in verse 14 of John one, he says, and the word became flesh and dwelt among him and we saw and dwelt among us and we saw his glory. Right. Right. So there is some sense here that we're seeing the presence of God without necessarily seeing God. And for instance, the emphasis is so much on his feet and what's under his feet.

Right. And it gives you the impression that their gaze is bowed down and not really in his face looking in his eyes. So there's something, and there's a little bit of mystery here, but there's something about the fact that they have seen God, so they know this is God, but not in a sense that they'll be condemned for it. But they were suddenly welcomed into the presence of God after the agreement of the covenant. They're welcomed up, welcomed into the presence of God. He grants them a relationship with him and they eat and drink in his presence.

Yeah. It makes me think we're mentioning marriage. You do a marriage ceremony, wedding ceremony. Oh, there's always a party. There's already a party after that. And you see this all through the Old Testament, especially where you make a covenant and then you sort of celebrate, eat, down, and eat.

Well, the feast is an essential part of the recognition of the covenant because you sit down to eat together, which is representing doing life together. That's right. But I would encourage you listeners to find out, look in your cross references. You'll have cross references in your column here.

Look where else this imagery shows up of the pavement that's under his feet and the glory, because you'll find it in Ezekiel and you'll find it in Revelation. And the descriptions are very, very similar. So I'm not going to give you those references. You look them up.

They'll be in your cross reference in your column. And I would encourage you to read the verses around them, because the person they are seeing is the visual incarnate representation of the unseen God. Yep. And the scene is deliberately meant to impress upon you that you are coming into the presence of God. Yeah. You know, this made me think this eating and drinking stuff and made me remember Jethro.

Remember Jethro, the fallen law? He came in, he makes a profession of faith in who this God is. He brought them out of Egypt, you know, and then all the elders of Israel come in and they sit down. Right.

They have a feast. It's an essential part of agreeing to live in relationship. In fact, he does a sacrifice. So he actually, you know, he starts this covenant with God, the God of Israel, and then the eat and drink. So that's just how you do it. Yeah.

We need to press on. Verse 12, 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 her are with you and whoever has a dispute, let them go to them. Okay.

Okay. So did you hear Moses is going up farther, right? They've all come up to God on the mountain, but God says to Moses, now come up and just be there with me. And when it says in verse 12, come up on the mountain and wait there that I may give you the tablets of stone, that is literally the Chaya that is just be there, exist there.

And by the end of the chapter, we're going to find out he's up there for 40 days and nights. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And everything that he had already written in the book on the scroll, God is going to write himself on stone. That's a very important picture here.

Yes. Because we have, you know, from verse seven, we already have the book of the covenant, which presumably is the stuff written down from chapters 20 through 23 that we just were reading. But this is different.

There's something much more important here and it'll unfold as we see it. I'd like to mention of Joshua, kind of his assistant. We saw Joshua. We've seen Joshua before.

Not too long ago. Remember when Moses was holding up his staff and Aaron and her were helping him hold his arms in the air and who was down there in the battle watching people die or survive? That was Joshua. And Joshua is, this is an introduction to him, is a very important assistant to Moses. And even after Moses dies, he will take over the leadership role for Moses. So that's Joshua. He's right up here on the mountain with Moses. Yeah, it's incredible. 15?

15. And then Moses went up on the mountain. Now listen for the repetition here. 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 40 days and 40 nights.

Wow. And in those few verses, we have the cloud and the glory and the mountain over and over and over again. This is a very important picture.

This is a big deal. This is why this is the pivot point in Exodus in so many ways. This is the pivot point. And you know, I've always wondered, he goes up and he's in the midst of that for six days before God pulls him in on the seventh day. Right. Don't know what that's all about.

God had said, just come and be here. Right. And then, you know, if you're a Bible student, you say, wait, six days plus one, that rings a bell.

What's going on here? And we're going to leave that to you to noodle on because that's just a, it's a marvelous, very deliberate parallel. Okay. So that actually brings up an idea that I want to touch on being a study skill that is slow reading, right? Read the passage aloud, read slowly enough and when something attracts your attention, pause.

Just be there and let the significance of it sink in. This is a way, we read too fast, so much of the time. So this whole chapter is one that benefits from the slow read. Well, and I encourage people to do an active questioning while they're reading.

Yes, ask good questions. Because you know, you can read it and just say, well, that's just what's there. So I just read it and I keep going. For instance, on this six days plus one, if you're going slow enough, you say, wait a second.

What is happening here? And the question arises in your mind, is this like the six days of creation and the day of rest? Is this the Sabbath rest? Seven? I mean, what is that?

And so if you go too fast, the questions don't arise and it's always great to ask the questions while you're moving. Yeah. And, and speaking of parallels, 40 days and 40 nights, what does that remind you of? Well, immediately for me, I'm thinking of Jesus in the temptation in Matthew four.

Well that was 40 days and 40 nights, but there's more. I thought about that too, that this is in response to God giving his word to the people while Jesus out in the wilderness. How was he responding to those temptations by the word of God? Yes.

All three of them. Yeah. He was refuting Satan's temptations that way. Yeah. And when those 40 days and 48 nights are done, the word who was flesh walked among them.

So it's interesting. Right. And his ministry opened. He's publicly accessible. Like after this, the word will be publicly accessible from what happens. Because it's written on stone, it will be later deposited in the Ark of the Covenant.

It'll be there, point of reference. Right. And written on stone is going to become a very important idea later on when we come to talking about the new covenant, which is not written on stone, but written on living hearts.

Written on hearts. Still by the finger of God, but in a different destination on our hearts. Yes. Yeah. As we're kind of closing this off, I mean the big picture for me, I say this is a pivot point in Exodus, is because from this point forward in Exodus, the tabernacle dominates the discussion.

I mean just tremendously. And what is the tabernacle? Well it's a portable tent symbolizing God's presence with him.

Yeah. Where they go from here. So here, if you think about it, here we are in the mountain and the cloud and the fire and the light from heaven, it's all clustered around Mount Sinai. But pretty soon here, we're going to come off of Sinai and we're going to start wandering away from here. And the place in which God chooses for his glory to be apparent is this portable tent called the tabernacle. And actually we're going to get into reading the very specific instructions that God gives Moses for the construction of the tabernacle, which if I'm not mistaken, he has in his hand when he comes down the mountain and finds them already having built the golden calf. So when we finish the book of Exodus on chapter 40, we finish the tabernacle. So this from here on to the end of Exodus is all about how God is going to, how do I say this well, God's intention is that I want to dwell in your midst. And for that to work and the terms and the conditions for God to dwell in their midst in the tabernacle is going to be the entire press for here to the end of Exodus. How can God be in your midst because God does want to dwell in your midst and here's how it's possible.

Yeah, and it's over the sacrifice for sin, all of that instruction, Moses is going to receive on the mountain and then come down and elaborate on it to the people and engage them in the building of the tabernacle. And because of that sin, we have this constant tension where you've got God in their midst, but they can't come near. And so it's a fascinating tension, which goes on even to man in the present day, which is here's a God who desires to dwell in our midst, but because of our sin, we can't draw near to him.

However, there is a solution to that sin and then we can draw near to him. But from here on out, it's God's way of saying, here's the terms and conditions so that I can dwell among you and I can be your visible leader from the tabernacle. So and he's very specific about the design of this tabernacle and what it symbolizes and what it teaches just because of the way it's made that allows him to understand how it is that God can be with us, but we cannot come near to him.

It's a fascinating tension. Yeah, and I know that construction of the tabernacle is so full of symbolism. I read a psalm earlier this week and I can't remember which one it was where the psalmist says and everything in your tabernacle cries glory. Well glory, the primary meaning of the word glory is recognition, recognize who this God is, what his essential character is and the outshining of it. So we've had this word glory, glory, glory on the mountain, glory, the glory of the presence of God. And so it's all pointing actually to John 1, to Jesus when it says the word became flesh and he dwelt. He tabernacled among us in this temporary dwelling place and allowed us to see his glory. We could recognize God in the face of Christ. And if you remember even at the Last Supper when Philip says to Jesus, you know, just show us the Father and he says, don't you get it, if you've seen me, you've seen the Father.

I've been with you this so long and you haven't figured this out yet. So we can't really leave this just without saying this old covenant idea is critical but it all points to a new covenant, not written on stone but on human hearts, not by the blood of bulls and goats, but by the blood of Christ. Jesus is so tightly connected with Christ, not only in the sacrifice, but in his desire to dwell among us. He became flesh. God is so intentional. He became flesh and he dwelt among us.

This has been the intention of God since the Garden of Eden is to dwell among man. And so here in Exodus, we're going to see it worked out in the creation of the tabernacle and we're going to see it completed when Jesus comes and he tabernacles among us. It's a fascinating thing. So we're glad you're with us. We're totally out of time and the narrative will pick up next week as we look at this tabernacle and the fulfillment of how God will dwell with us. So come back and join the excitement when we look at this together on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content.

To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Well, I call that a winner. I think we can make some. It's a winner, winner chicken dinner. We're going to win a pizza dinner.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 00:38:13 / 2023-03-25 00:50:24 / 12

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