Exodus Chapter Nineteen

Preparation for Worship

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In our study of Exodus chapter nineteen, we look at the proper worship of God and look at the danger associated with getting caught up in an emotional experience.

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Exodus 19:1 & 2

In the third month after the people of Isra'el had left the land of Egypt, the same day they came to the Sinai Desert. After setting out from Refidim and arriving at the Sinai Desert, they set up camp in the desert; there in front of the mountain, Isra'el set up camp.

The number three is associated with revelation and the earthly display of God's will for man and it is in this third month (Sivan) that Israel camp and camped at Mt. Sinai.

Exodus 19:3-6

Moshe went up to God, and ADONAI called to him from the mountain: "Here is what you are to say to the household of Ya'akov, to tell the people of Isra'el: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you will be a kingdom of cohanim for me, a nation set apart.'These are the words you are to speak to the people of Isra'el."

Here, we see God give a message to Moshe for Israel but it says beit Ya'akov or household of Jacob and that is significant because The name Ya'akov means pursuer and it speaks of the fact that Ya'akov pursued the birthright. We are reminded that the birthright was connected to the covenant with Avraham and the promises that God had made to Avraham. The phrase "on eagles' wings" refers to the fact that the redemption of the people from Egypt was a supernatural event. We see that the message is that God is calling the people to keep His covenant and to become a nation set apart for His purposes.

Exodus 19:7 & 8

Moshe came, summoned the leaders of the people and presented them with all these words which ADONAI had ordered him to say. All the people answered as one, "Everything ADONAI has said, we will do." Moshe reported the words of the people to ADONAI.

We see that Moshe gathered the leaders that he had appointed at the end of the last chapter, told them what the Lord had said and the people agreed to the terms. Moshe returned to give the answer of the people to the Lord.

Exodus 19:9-13

ADONAI said to Moshe, "See, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, so that the people will be able to hear when I speak with you and also to trust in you forever." Moshe had told ADONAI what the people had said; so ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go to the people; today and tomorrow separate them for me by having them wash their clothing; and prepare for the third day. For on the third day, ADONAI will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. You are to set limits for the people all around; and say, 'Be careful not to go up on the mountain or even touch its base; whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death. No hand is to touch him; for he must be stoned or shot by arrows; neither animal nor human will be allowed to live.' When the shofar sounds, they may go up on the mountain."

Now we see that God is going to meet with the people for a specific purpose and that is to let the people know that Moshe is His chosen instrument of revelation. The Hebrew word olam is translated here as forever but it is actually speaking of the kingdom and God is saying that the things that Moshe will share with Israel are for the kingdom. The word for separate speaks of sanctification or preparation for an event and we see the people are to prepare for what will happen on the third day. They are to be ready by the third day for God to appear to them. We see that, during this time, any animal or person that even touches the base of Mt Sinai was to be stoned and we see the two methods of stoning given. The first method is that stones would be thrown at the person causing death and the phrase "shot by arrows" is a mistranslation. In the Hebrew text, it speaks of the second method of stoning which was to throw the person off of a cliff causing them to be dashed upon the rocks below and killed. We see that, once the event is over, a shofar will sound and the people will be able to go up on the mountain.

Exodus 19:14 & 15

Moshe went down from the mountain to the people and separated the people for God, and they washed their clothing. He said to the people, "Prepare for the third day; don't approach a woman."

The people followed the instructions for sanctification and we see that another part of that had to do with refraining from joining with the wife and this was to keep the focus on the worship of God.

Exodus 19:16-20

On the morning of the third day, there was thunder, lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain. Then a shofar blast sounded so loudly that all the people in the camp trembled. Moshe brought the people out of the camp to meet God; they stood near the base of the mountain. Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, because ADONAI descended onto it in fire - its smoke went up like the smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder, Moshe spoke; and God answered him with a voice. ADONAI came down onto Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; then ADONAI called Moshe to the top of the mountain; and Moshe went up.

We see the arrival of God and the people were gathered at the base of the mountain where God called Moshe to go up on the mountain to meet Him. The mountain was on fire like the burning bush that Moshe had experienced the last time he was here (see chapter 3). Now, Moshe is called to walk into that fire and go up to speak with God.

Exodus 19:21-25

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go down and warn the people not to force their way through to ADONAI to see him; if they do, many of them will perish. Even the cohanim, who are allowed to approach ADONAI, must keep themselves holy; otherwise, ADONAI may break out against them." Moshe said to ADONAI, "The people can't come up to Mount Sinai, because you ordered us to set limits around the mountain and separate it." But ADONAI answered him, "Go, get down! Then come back up, you and Aharon with you. But don't let the cohanim and the people force their way through to come up to ADONAI, or he will break out against them." So Moshe went down to the people and told them.

God told Moshe to go down and warn the people against approaching the mountain but Moshe did not understand because they had already been told and Moshe expected the people to do what God had told them. God told Moshe again to go and tell them and to bring Aharon back up with him. This passage speaks of the danger of people getting caught up in an emotional experience in worship and allowing those emotions to overtake the instructions of God. That is what is happening more today than ever before as many are going to a place of so-called worship without the proper preparation and they are getting caught up in an emotional experience and that is not proper worship of God.

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