September 3rd, 2018 | Exodus 19:1-9, 16-19
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota has been called the “Shrine of Democracy.” The heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were carved out of the mountain in 1941 and restored for the 50th anniversary in 1991. It currently welcomes nearly three million visitors per year.
Mount Rushmore is an iconic mountain in American culture. Similarly, Mount Sinai is iconic in Israelite history. In the interval between Exodus 3 and Exodus 19, much had happened, including confrontations with Pharaoh, the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and liberation from four centuries of slavery. Through it all, God had remained faithful. He had promised Moses, “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain” (3:12). Now they had arrived! The occasion was important enough to record the “very day” (v. 1).
The Lord’s faithfulness extended back not only to the burning bush but to the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His message had two parts. First, acknowledge the past. He had rescued them from bondage. He had “carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (v. 4). Second, commit to the future (vv. 5–6). In the context of their close relationship with God andidentity as His “treasured possession” and “holy nation,” they needed to take seriously their covenant responsibilities of obedience and worship (vv. 5–6).
The Moody Bible Commentary points out that Mount Sinai was not a beautiful tourist destination. It was “a place where there were no distractions, no other associations, and nothing of the world. There was really nothing here but the Lord Himself. All other associations were set aside so that the people could focus on the covenant, the relationship about to be established.”
APPLY THE WORD
Mount Sinai was a place without distractions. Do you have a place like that? A place where no one (and no electronic notifications!) will interrupt? A place where God has your full and undivided attention? If yes, give thanks! If not, consider where you might find your own mountainous wilderness to meet with God.
Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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