Establishing the Covenant

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October 28 – Establishing the Covenant

Read Exodus 19:3-8 

            Moses climbed Mt. Sinai to appear before God. God’s instructions were that the people were to obey Him and keep the covenant. As a result, they would be His people, His “special treasure.” They were to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.

They had not earned the special relationship by anything they had done. God did not choose them because they were more righteous than other nations. He chose them because it was His will to choose them.

Chapters 19 through 34 of the book of Exodus deal with all of the details about the covenant, but the heart of it is found in verses 5-6 – “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.”

Broken Before Established


God had Moses lead the people through a process of consecration (chapter 19:14 and following). He gave the Ten Commandments in chapter 20. He gave more ordinances to them about how they should live in chapters 21, 22, and 23. The people accepted the covenant in chapter 24. Moses led the elders onto the mountain in chapter 24 and they actually had a covenant meal with God (24:11).

At the end of chapter 24, God instructed Moses to continue up to the top of the mountain so that God could give him stone tablets with the commandments on them – a kind of covenant document. Moses climbed to the top of the mountain, disappearing from the sight of the people. He was gone for 40 days.

While Moses was gone, the people became impatient. They made a golden calf and began worshiping it. Even though they had agreed to the terms of the covenant, they broke it before Moses made it down the mountain with the stone tablets containing the particulars.

God did not negate the covenant. The people were punished, but God honored the agreement they had already broken.

Even at the very beginning of the covenant arrangement, God showed His grace.


What would have happened if the relationship between God and the people had been based on what the people did?

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