© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 20 November 2017
5A8. In grace, God gloriously made His Covenant with the Israelites through Moses at Mt Sinai:
God formally reconfirmed His unchanging commitment to them as His chosen people, and declared His intention to make them into His own holy nation, Israel
5A8(title) In grace, God gloriously made His Covenant with the Israelites through Moses at Mt Sinai
When the Israelites had migrated to Egypt they were just the 70 members of the extended family clan of Abraham and Jacob Ex 1:1-4,5. After living in Egypt for 400 years they multiplied greatly Ex 1:7 as God had promised Abraham Gen 13:16, 17:2. They became a very large ethnic community Ex 12:37b but were greatly oppressed by the Egyptians Ex 1:11-14.
God then powerfully and miraculously brought the Israelites out of Egypt [5A4] and finally freed them from the Egyptians at the Red Sea Ex 14:29-30,31. Although the Israelites soon began to complain, God brought them through several crises Ex 15:22,23-24, 16:2,3, 17:1,2,8-9, 18:15-16,17-18 until they reached Mt Sinai Ex 19:1-2,4.
At Mt Sinai God declared to Moses His purposes for the Israelites Ex 19:3,4,5-6. These Covenantal intentions were CONDITIONAL. IF the Israelites obeyed the requirements of the Covenant God was about to make with them, THEN they would be the unique, holy nation Israel, treasured by Him.
God then came down terrifyingly upon Mt Sinai Ex 19:9,16-17,18,19, 20:18-19,20-21 and declared the basic law-principles of His Covenant, the Ten Commandments Ex 20:1-17. God went on to state many other detailed Covenantal requirements Ex 20:22 – 23:19.
Moses wrote down all of these requirements, as the “Book of the Covenant” Ex 24:4a,7a. The people again responded by saying they would obey all that God had said Ex 19:8a, 24:3,7b. Using appropriate rituals Ex 24:4b,5-6,8a Moses formally confirmed this Covenant that God had “made” with them Ex 24:8b.
In grace, God then gloriously appeared to Moses and more than 70 Israelite leaders. They all SAW GOD! Ex 24:9-10,11. He commanded Moses to come up the mountain to receive the 2 stone slabs with the Covenantal Ten Commandments written on them by God Ex 24:12. As Moses did so, God’s glory appeared on Mt Sinai to all the Israelites for 7 days! Ex 24:15-16,17. Moses remained up on Mt Sinai for 40 days Ex 24:18. God gave him many further detailed Covenantal requirements Ex 25:1-30:38, 31:12-18.
Appallingly, while Moses was away the Israelites quickly abandoned their Covenantal obedience! Ex 32:1-8. When Moses realised this, he smashed the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments on them, given to him by God! Ex 24:12, 32:19. Yet in response to Moses’ pleading, God in grace relented from destroying the people Ex 32:9-14. But He did punish them severely Ex 32:23-35.
Moses had further glorious and also distressing encounters with God Ex 33:1-23, 34:1-7. He pleaded with God to go with them Ex 33:14-17, 34:8-9. God then reconfirmed the making of His Covenant with them Ex 34:10a,27b. Yet as declared previously Ex 23:20-33 Covenantal obedience would be the basis for fulfilling His promise to Abraham to give them the land of Canaan Ex 34:10b,11. God also added further requirements directly related to this promise Ex 34:12-26. God then commanded Moses to write the Ten Commandments on two new stone tablets Ex 34:1,2,4,27a,28.
God’s two previous Covenants “established” through Noah and Abraham contained everlasting UNCONDITIONAL declarations and promises by God [3A8, 3A11(a), 4A8, 4A11(a)]. These guaranteed God’s future acts of favour upon Abraham’s chosen descendants. There were also CONDITIONAL Covenantal requirements that must be kept by them [3A10, 4A10]. In God’s grace, these were to be the basis for His present blessings upon them [3A11(b), 4A11(b)]. So mutual commitments by God and the Israelites were involved.
However, God’s Covenant that He “made” with the Israelites through Moses at Mt Sinai was rather different to those earlier Covenants (for this reason the term “established” was not used). The previous UNCONDITIONAL commitments given in them were only reconfirmed Ex 6:2-3,4,5,8. But the applications of the same CONDITIONAL principle of the prior Covenants [3A11(b), 4A11(b)] were far greater.
As previously, IF they believed God’s unchanging Covenantal declarations and promises and obeyed His Covenantal requirements [see 5A11(a)] THEN He would make Himself known TO and THROUGH them positively, in His ongoing relationship with them [see 5A11(b)]. But God’s Covenantal requirements were massively expanded [see 5A10].
These vast new Covenantal requirements were intended to form the detailed constitution and law code for the whole new nation of Israel. It was on the basis of fully keeping these Covenantal requirements that they would become the unique nation that God intended Ex 19:5-6.
This whole Covenant-making process at Mt Sinai was glorious! It was accompanied by many awesome manifestations of the glory of God Ex 19:16-17,18-19, 20:18-19,20-21, 24:9-10,11,15-16,17, 32:35, 33:7,8-9,10,18-19,20-21,22-23, 34:4,5,10,29,30, 40:34-35,36-37,38.
5A8(sub-title) God formally reconfirmed His unchanging commitment to them as His chosen people and nation, ISRAEL