This month’s illustration is based on Exodus 19:
1 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites
left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set
out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in
the desert in front of the mountain.
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from
the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob
and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what
I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to
myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all
nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,
6 you a will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the
words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people
and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. 8 The people
all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses
brought their answer back to the Lord.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a
dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always
put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and
consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be
ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount
Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the
mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or
touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They
are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No
person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a
long blast may they approach the mountain.”
14 After Moses had
gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed
their clothes. 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third
day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and
lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast.
Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to
meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was
covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke
billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain b
trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder,
Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called
Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him,
“Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the
Lord and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must
consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”
23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount
Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set
it apart as holy.’ ”
24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you.
But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to
the Lord, or he will break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
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