Israel Affirms the Covenant
"So 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 has said we will do.' And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. And Moses took half the blood and put it in the basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.' And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words'" (Exo. 24:3-8).

The nation of Israel affirmed their allegiance to the LORD, the great God who had freed them from bondage and provided for them thus far. He is here entering into a unique fellowship with them, as His own special people (cf. 19:4,5). The covenant was read before the people and blood from the offerings was divided into two parts, which represented both parties in the agreement (i.e., God and man).

"Then Moses went up, also 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 sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank" (Exo. 24:9-11).

God is spirit, so it is impossible to see Him in His true form with physical eyes. However, the text says that these leaders in Israel saw God. I can only conclude that they saw some physical manifestation of deity (cf. John 1:18). Regardless of what they saw, the point is clear: they were now in close fellowship with an awesome God!

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments, which I have written, that you may teach them.' So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, 'Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them'" (24:12-14).

Moses is again seen as preeminent among those of Israel. Aaron and Hur would be in charge while Moses was with God. Sadly, Aaron does a poor job leading in Moses' absence, as Exodus 32 records.

"Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights" (24:15-18).

Six days of waiting for instructions is great patience indeed. I cannot begin to fathom what Moses experienced physically, emotionally, and spiritually during that forty day fast on the mountain with God (cf. Deut. 9:9). Scripture is clear that He was favored like no man before or after Him regarding His communication with the Almighty (cf. Deut. 34:10). The faithful will one day have a better understanding of this when they dwell with God in heaven! Israel was given more visual aids while Moses was away; they saw what appeared to be a consuming fire on the mountain top!