Summary: The third in this series in which Moses meets God at Mt.Sinai and becomes the great law-giver.
“Moses Meets God”
Text: Exodus 3:1-6
I want to continue our series of lessons this morning on Mountaintop Experiences. The first was “Noah’s New Beginning” on the Mountains of Ararat. Then, on May the 20th, our lesson was “Living by Faith” – about the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham on Mount Moriah. Today’s lesson focuses on Mount Sinai in a sermon entitled “Moses Meets God.” Mount Sinai is also known as Mount Horeb and the mountain of God. Later, the prophet Elijah will have an encounter with the Lord at this same mountain as recorded in 1 Kings 19:8-18. As we will see, Moses had more than one encounter with God at Mount Sinai but we will begin with the text from Exodus 3:1-6. While various sites have been suggested for Mount Sinai as indicated by the yellow triangles, we will use the one located in the lower part of the Sinai Peninsula indicated by three of these triangles which was cited by Eusebius in the early 4th century A.D. But, no matter where Mount Sinai was actually located, it was a place central to the history of Israel – where the Law was given. As indicated in our scripture reading, Moses met the Lord in the burning bush – standing on holy ground. The purpose of this encounter was for the Lord to task Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage after some 430 years. Moses had plenty of excuses but the Lord had providentially been preparing His servant to do this job for the past 80 years. Moses was concerned concerned about the name of the God of Israel and the Lord told him in Exodus 3:14 – “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” For the rest of our time this morning, I want us to briefly look at some more encounters Moses had with the great “I Am” on Mt. Sinai. I hope you’ll open your Bibles as we study together and then be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and search the scriptures daily to make sure I’ve told you the truth.
Scholars have outlined at least seven trips that Moses made up Mt. Sinai recorded in Exodus but we won’t be able to cover all of these in detail. However, I’ve listed them here for those who want to go back and look at each one. Moses made three trips up Mt. Sinai in chapter 19 just preparing the people to receive the Law. Read with me from the first nine verses of Exodus 19 to get the feel of what is going on in his first two trips: In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.
And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You 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, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.”
So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.
The children of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai about six weeks after leaving Egypt. We know there were 600,000 men on foot and experts estimate that the total number of men, women and children was approximately 2.5 million. God has delivered His people from Egyptian slavery and now He is prepared to give them rules to guide their lives. The people have agreed to do as God says. They had to consecrate themselves and keep distance between themselves and the mountain of God. The text goes on in verse 16 to tell how there was a thick cloud on the mountain with thunderings and lightnings and the sound of a loud trumpet such that the people trembled. The Lord came down on Mt. Sinai and called Moses up to Him. After receiving God’s instructions, Moses came down and spoke to the people. Moses must have repeated the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 as he spoke to the people. Let’s read Exodus 20:18-21 – Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”