God called Moses, Aaron, and the elders up on the mountain. When Moses reported to the people God’s instructions, they responded, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do” (24:3). Oh my, what a fine, obedient people Israel was to be! Back up on the mountain God gave to Moses the tablets of stone upon which were written the commandments that Israel would faithfully obey. God gave instructions for building the tabernacle, regarding the altar of burnt offering, and the priestly vestments. Everything was set. All would be well. Uh . . . maybe not so fast. Will the people follow through with their commitment?
We’re still very early in the new year. It’s the season of new starts and of well-intentioned resolutions. Here’s the thing, though. As with Israel, so with us, it is one thing to commit to do something, it is still another actually to do it. We’re about to discover whether or not Israel’s commitment is just that, a commitment without follow-through. As we anticipate the continuation of the story, surely we can pause and, with the hymn writer, praise and adore the God of Israel.
God, your glorious presence
draws us to adore you,
and with awe appear before you.
In your holy temple
all keep mystic silence,
prostrate lie with deepest reverence.
God we own,
you our God and Saviour:
praise your name for ever. -- Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)