Advent 2017 // What was the Covenant between God and Moses?

Happy Feast of St Lucy! My kids love this feast day, which has been celebrated since I was a young girl. Traditionally, the oldest daughter (but sometimes we’ve done the youngest instead) dresses in a white gown with red sash, wearing a wreath that has leaves and candles. She goes around waking up her family, with a plate full of baked goods – in our case, we have always baked hot cross buns or cinnamon rolls. If you don’t have time to bake today, maybe you can stop by a local bakery or coffee shop and support a small business while celebrating this fun liturgical feast day with a delicious treat. The Christmas season is my favorite time to support small businesses and keep my money within my local economy. Instead of helping a major corporation get even richer, help a family buy Christmas presents this year by shopping small. Your dollar(s) will go much further! As a small business owner myself, I am so appreciative of everyone that chooses to support small/local businesses when they can.

We’re going to hop back over to the Old Testament again and learn about God’s covenant to Moses. Three months after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they arrived at Mount Sinai. The first time Moses went up the mountain was in Exodus 19:3 where God told him,

“...If therefore you will hear my voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be my peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation...”

God told Moses to consecrate the Israelites and then bring them to the mountain three days later so that He could speak within earshot of them.

The Israelites already knew they were God’s chosen people because of the covenant with Abraham. The point of this new covenant was to establish rules about their life. As God said, it was to establish Israel as a “priestly kingdom, and a holy nation.” When Moses brought them to the mountain, God gave them the Ten Commandments. Later written on two stone tablets, these commandments were God’s way of showing love and protection, to help keep them (and us) away from sin. In addition to the Ten Commandments, God also gave Moses a large amount of additional rules for them to follow (Exodus 20-23) including,

“You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold” and “You shall make an altar of earth unto me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of my name shall be: I will come to thee, and will bless thee.”

Moses explained everything to the Israelites, and they agreed to follow God’s word. He built an altar at the foot of the mountain, sacrificed calves to God, and then used the blood to seal the covenant. He poured half of the blood on the altar, read the book of the covenant to the Israelites, and then sprinkled them with the other half of the blood. Moses then went up into the mountain for forty days, returning with the two stone tablets. But despite promising to follow God’s word, the Israelites broke their promise during those forty days and began worshiping an idol. This angered Moses so much, he smashed the tablets as a visual to show the people that they broke the covenant before it had even been completed. However, in His mercy and compassion, instead of abandoning the covenant, God renewed it. Moses went back up the mountain and fasted for another forty days, then returned with a new set of stone tablets on which were written, “The words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”

How wonderful that we have such a forgiving and merciful God! He WANTS us to be with Him in Heaven, and He gives us chance after chance to get there. We just have to follow His commandments and abandon our sinful ways. The foundation of the covenant was grace. We must allow ourselves to be open to receiving God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Do you have a hard time allowing yourself to be forgiven by God? What are some steps you can take to open yourself up to His grace and forgiveness? This is the perfect time to head to confession if you haven’t gone yet this season.

Open yourself up to God’s forgiveness. 

covenant god and moses.png