Let’s talk about Mount Sinai. I know Mount Sinai is on your mind this morning. So, let’s go ahead and talk about Mount Sinai. Interesting note… important things happen on mountains in the Bible. One of the more important things in the Old Testament is the Covenant that was cut on Mount Sinai. The mountain of the LORD was significant!
This leads me to another revision of our Seven Elements of an Effective Biblical Covenant.
Seven Elements of an Effective Biblical Covenant – v3.1
1) Covenants create relationships by giving identity.
2) The parties in the covenant are named; one superior and one inferior.
3) Valuable blessings are granted.
4) Oaths are given.
5) A sacrifice cuts the Covenant.
Subpoint… Meals are involved in covenants.
6) There is a symbol to remember.
7) Names and places are significant.
Often time in a covenant the place is significant; name is changed; it becomes an important place.
Anyway, back to what’s on your mind… Mount Sinai.
Exodus 19:1-6 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai… they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."
The newly escaped children of Israel travel to Mount Sinai in about three months. YHWH offers them a new job. Instead of being slaves, you can be a kingdom of priests. The people-group known as the children of Israel… accept. “Yes, we will do all that you have said!” They agree to keep all the laws of the Covenant. The Covenant is sealed with the blood of bulls! Most of our seven elements are done. Even the place is significant… the Mountain of God. It is a Covenant.
Exodus 24:12-18 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… Then 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 forty days and forty nights.
Wow. The glory of the LORD covered the mountain! Imagine for seven days there is fire and lighting and earthquakes… it is apocalyptic. It is one of those moments when you remember all the details for the rest of your life. Like… Kennedy… Space Shuttle explosion… 9/11… The people are standing around for a week with their mouths open watching the glory on Mount Sinai!
Moses receives the Tablets of the… Ten Commandments written with the finger of God.
Exodus 31:18 And the LORD gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
Moses is handed one of the few things ever that is the actual words of God written in His own handwriting. Wow… What font did God use? Is His handwritten like a doctor’s that can’t be read? Is it neat? What actual words are written?
Amazing… it happens on Mount Sinai
On his way back down from Mount Sinai… Moses hears…
Exodus 32:15-19 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp." But he said, "It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear." And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.
Although the people…
--had agreed to follow all the words of the covenant…
--had cut a covenant with the blood of bulls being sprinkled on them…
--had become a kingdom of priests…
--had entered into Covenant with YHWH…
…In just 40 days, they bowed down in worship to a… golden calf! “What? No way! Surely Not!”
Moses is so angry he slams the tablets with the writing of God to the ground and shatters the words of God!
--There is punishment of the people.
--There is persuading God not to nuke the people.
--Everyone takes a deep breath. Moses goes back up the Mountain… again. Good thing he is in shape. Moses needs another copy of the Ten commandments to replace the busted ones.
Then something odd happens to Moses… something weird is going on with his face.
Exodus 34:29-33 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
“What? His face was glowing?” His face was a reflection of the divine fire of the glory of God. Just talking to God, in person, made Moses’s face radiant! Being in the presence of God changes humans! It makes them glow!
The Bible goes on to say this happened every time Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with God.
Exodus 34:34 Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
Being in the presence of God made Moses’ face glow.
Wait a second. I’m getting flashbacks of Jesus… on a mountain… and glowing.
Matthew 17:1-2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
It’s a mountain and a glowing face. Jesus does a Moses. Jesus glows with the glory of God! Matthew is telling this story to connect Jesus to Moses… to a mountain… to being in the presence of God… to covenant.
Wait another second… another flashback to Paul…
2 Corinthians 3:7-11 Now if the ministry (covenant) of death, carved in letters on stone, (even carved by the finger of God) came with such glory (lighting, thunder, earthquake, apocalyptic) that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry (covenant) of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
The argument is… if the old covenant was glorious… with mountains and fire and lighting and face glowing… how much more is the new covenant glorious?
--The Old Covenant was temporary. The New is eternal.
--The Old Covenant was carved in stone. The New carved in the Spirit!
--The Old Covenant was about laws… The New is about living in righteousness!
If the old one was glorious, then the new old is so bright it makes the other disappear. Like a candle in a spotlight, the new covenant out-glories the old. The New Covenant is spectacularly glorious!
Wow, I can’t wait till we study the New Covenant. It is magnitudes more glorious.
Paul continues with why.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, (the Spirit is YHWH) and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
We get to do a Moses glow face. Through the Spirit, we are being transformed by the glory-glow of Jesus. As we look into the face of the Jesus, we become more like Jesus through the transformation of the Spirit. The more we are in His presence, the more we become like him.
Wow… I can’t till we get to studying the New Covenant. We are going to find out then how we are changed by the Spirit to be more like Christ.
For now, here is the principle.
Transformation happens within the body of Christ. The Spirit working within Christ’s body changes us one degree at a time to be more like the LORD.
We had Mount Sinai on our mind this morning. On Mount Sinai Moses face glowed because he was in the presence of the LORD. We get to do a Moses face glow as we are being transformed by the presence of the LORD!
May 26, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ