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.  And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.  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.  Exodus 24:1-3


Now the people have made a verbal agreement with the Lord.  A binding contract will be made in writing.


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.  And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.  And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.  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.  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.  Exodus 24:4-8


The people have entered a binding written agreement sealed in blood.  The blood of animal sacrifice was symbolic of another contract that was yet to come. 


And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  Matthew 26:27-28


Still, in the Old Testament the blood of animals will commit the people to obedience without the permanent remission of sins.  It is actually setting them up to be condemned for coming failures. 


Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:  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.  And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.  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.  Exodus 24:9-12


These leaders of Israel all viewed the living God, and stood in his presence.  They had evidence of his being, and how he looks.  They were not ignorant of the power and truth of who he is.  They are deprived of all excuses for failure now.  These are the delegated leaders chosen by Moses, and gifted to serve in leadership in Israel.  They are the shepherds of their people.  Their education is about to begin.


And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.  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.  And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.  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.  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.  Exodus 24:13-17


The evidence of spiritual power and a major event was in the making.  The fear of the Lord was in place.  Israel was set to await a great event.  They were prepared to wait upon the Lord for a great covenant.  Moses was gone from them for fourty days and nights.


God begins to detail the work that Moses will require of the people.  They are to gather materials to build a portable sanctuary for the Lord, a tent known as the Tabernacle.  The equipment of the temple includes a box called the Arc, to contain relics and a seat for the power of God to reside on.  Many other bible studies examine the spiritual significance of the furnishings.  Sculptures in Rome depict some of these which were captured in later years.  The return of the Arc was a great celebration for David after it’s capture by the Philistines.  A major part of Jewish life and faith was taking shape.


The priestly garments and prophetic powers of the breastplate of judgment are described.  The consecration of the priests is described in careful detail.  Every proceeding of sacrifice is defined for all time.  Craftsmen are chosen by name to build the furnishings by their gifts of skill. 


And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.  Exodus 31:18


Moses was prepared with the perfect law, written by God himself.  The people had seen great miracles, and their leaders had seen God himself.  Surely the world is approaching a utopian perfection.  Great things are coming for mankind.  Man is unkind to himself though.  We are able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in our unbelief.  Waiting for forty days has been too much for the patience of Israel.


And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.  And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.  Exodus 32:1-6


The people brought an accusation against Moses and their God by disobedience.  They challenged his faithfulness.  Aaron followed the people instead of leading them.  There is already a movement to being politically correct.  Aaron has chosen to appease the people instead of the God who created them.  All the leaders and shepherds of Israel had seen the Lord, and knew that a calf was not his image.  Yet no one spoke up against Aaron when he declared his god better than the god of Moses.  This seems a great error, but we can do the same by smaller disobedience.  Any time we have a political reason to depart from the instructions of the bible, we are going to disaster.


The first warning issued by the Lord was to have no other gods before him.  Aaron led them into the first transgression.  They confronted the first commandment as their first violation of the law.  A two year old child learns how to say “NO!” as a way of testing the power of your enforcement of that word. 


It is interesting to notice how the group immediately descends into fun and games.  They “rose up to play”, just like a child’s rebellion.  Saul was a king of Israel who also tried rebellion later.  Because he sought a man, Samuel, who was dead, for advice instead of the Lord, he needed witchcraft to raise him.  He lost his soul for this:


And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.  1 Samuel 15:22-23


With the fear of the Lord, we should be warned away from sin.  Every word that comes from the mouth of God is valuable for instruction.  Direct quotations from Jesus must be considered as prime warnings.  Even the epistles of the New Testament carry authority for us today. 


When a group is outwardly carnal and entertaining we might be warned of questionable doctrine.  I remember seeing a church bus with “Faith with a Piece” painted on the side.  Are people always being built up, or are a few singled out for ridicule?  Do bullies still kick sand in the face of the weak?  That doesn’t sound like a Christian activity.  Your modest instincts may be a sign of the fear of the Lord working well within you.  Don’t let your conscience be seared by listening to leaders who should know better.  They don’t always do better, even if they know better.


And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed  thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  Exodus 32:7-8


God knows where our footprints have been.  No matter what we promised to do, or how we praise Jesus with our lips.  Our footprints are the testimony of our teaching.  A good heart will not make a good doctrine out of us if our feet leave the path.  The ditch is full of red clay gumbo mud, and the tracks are all over the living room.  We teach others by the actions we perform before the people.


It is interesting to note how these “innocent” deeds may outweigh the “capitol crimes” in God’s eyes.  Jesus spoke out against religious leaders, while forgiving an adulteress.  Clearly the work of his father’s house was the key to reforming those minor symptoms.  If the leaders of the church step outside of the guidelines of God’s word, they are the greatest enemy.  Moses will have to deal with them soon.