Coming up to meet God, and “being there” are two different commandments.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them.
Moses had been in constant communication with God in the wilderness, and even before that.
He had met with God many times.
Now he is instructed to not only come up the mountain, but to “be there” also.
If he came up the mountain and was there, then he was there, right?
But God wanted his full attention.
Moses needed to not only be there in body, but be there in spirit and in mind.
Something special was going to happen.
Moses was not to be thinking of anything except what God wanted.
So God was saying, come up here, and pay attention to me.
In chapters 20-23 of Exodus, God had Moses already up on the mountain, in a blaze of glory, with trumpets blowing from heaven.
The Ten Commandments had already been given, at least verbally, along with many other instructions for Moses to relate to others.
In Chapter 24, Moses is called up again. Now he is told to “be there” after he comes up.
What is the difference between the first going up (Aliyah) and the second?
1. In the first Aliyah, Moses goes up alone. Everyone is told to stay away from the mountain.
This is a private conference between God and Moses. The record of the meeting is recorded by Moses in a “Book of the covenant” (24:4) which was read to the people.
2. In the second Aliyah, Moses is told to bring Aaron, Nadub, and 70 of the elders of Israel, who are to be making sacrifices on the mountain. Aaron and Hur are put in charge. They would be eating and drinking while they waited.
This time, God was doing the writing, not Moses. The others would be off in the distance while this event was occurring.
It was then Moses was to spend 40 days, and 40 nights with God in the midst of the cloud.
Between the 40 days, and the 73 extra people up there, it is possible that God expected Moses to possibly have his mind wander off task.
Moses was fasting as far as we know, because it does not mention he was near the food, or ate any.
The smell of fresh meat on the burnt altar , wondering about the others up there, and the long time focusing on one task may have possibly presented a distraction for Moses.
There was also talking and conversations going on.
It is human nature to get distracted, and not focus on what we are doing, or what is going on around us.
Every day examples of “not being there:”
Daydreaming in school
Texting while driving
Student listening to music while teacher is talking
Sitting in church and thinking about the fishing trip
Children ignoring their parent’s instructions.
God wants our full attention
God speaks all the time, but most people do not listen.
They are paying attention to something else instead.
Other people are busy paying so much attention to themselves, that there is no room for God to fit in.
God used trumpet blasts from heaven to get the people’s attention at Sinai.
You would think God just showing up would be captivating in itself, but God knows human nature.
He came with sound effects and visual demonstrations, just to be sure people were paying attention down at the bottom of the mountain.
It does seem that mankind’s mind is not what it should be most of the time.
We need to be better listeners, especially when God is talking.
His Words are LIFE.
If we listen and pay attention, we live.
If we don’t listen, and pay attention, we perish.
And when God shows up, and tells you to show up……