Mountain Do’s and Don’ts
by Rob Shiflet
Bible Reading: Exodus 34:27-34
The Lord said to Moses, “Write down all these instructions.” Exodus 34:27
MOSES SET HIS chisel down on the table and wiped the sweat from his forehead. A large slab of stone sat on the wobbly wooden table, and another stone, already chiseled in great detail, sat beside it.
“Is there a problem, Moses?” The voice of God could be heard in the thin mountain air inside the tent, though Moses sat alone.
“Well, it’s . . . just. . . it’s all these instructions for building the tabernacle.”
“Yes,” God answered, his tone urging Moses to go on.
“Well,” Moses ventured, “you say the ark of the covenant has to be overlaid with pure gold, and the utensils on the table have to be pure gold, and the lampstand has to be pure gold. The bells on the priests’ robes have to be pure gold, and the incense has to be pure …”
“Go on,” God said.
“And the olive oil has to be pure, and the gemstones for the high priest’s breastplate have to be flawless . . .”
“Yes,” God said. “You’ve listened very well, Moses.”
“But-,” Moses began.
“You think I’m being too picky,” God said.
“No!” Moses blurted out. “I would never say that!” Then he remembered that God knew everything. “Well,” he said slowly, holding up his thumb and forefinger just a hair’s width apart, “maybe just a little.”
“Moses,” God said, “I am glad you noticed. I am not being picky, but I do want to communicate something to my people through all these rules and requirements. One of the things I want them to understand is that I require purity. I want my tabernacle to show that I require purity. I want my priests to show that I require purity. In fact, much of the law I am giving through you is intended to make it clear that I require purity, from the robes of the priests to the lives of my people.” The voice fell silent, but only for a moment. “Do you understand now, Moses?”
Moses answered quickly. “Oh, yes, Holy One. I understand, really I do.”
“You wish to ask something else?” God asked.
“Yes, Holy One,” Moses answered. He raised his hand timidly in the air, like a schoolboy. “I feel like I should wash my hands before I continue,” he said.
REFLECT: While the conversation above is fictional, it’s a fact that God commands purity. What do God’s commands reveal to you about what matters to God? Are the same things important to you? Why or why not?
PRAY: “Lord, keep me pure as you are pure.”