”And be ready in the morning and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. And no man shall come up with thee neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount” (Exodus 24:2-3).
Morning, the beginning of a new day, is a great time to meet with the God of Heaven and Earth. Before we do anything else meet with anyone else we should make ready to meet with our Lord. Jehovah wants to meet with us at the peak of our strength, energy and hope. He does not want to meet us in our moment of weakness, as He so often does. Although, we continue to meet Him at night when we are worn down by yesterday’s labors and burdens instead of in the morning when our strength, energy and hope are renewed our joy cometh in the morning.
My Mother used to say; “It is better to be called than sent for,” and for a long time I had no idea what she meant. Later it became clear, when you are called, regardless of who’s calling, you have a choice—you can answer or ignore the call, there is an element of trust that you will respond in the positive. On the other hand when you are sent for you have to go, usually by force, a real negative. Moses as an obedient servant of Jehovah exercised the first option he positively would answer the call, without hesitation or objection. I can hear Moses’ last words before retiring for the night; “Lord Jehovah, at Your bidding I come, You shall meet me, nothing on these desert plains will keep me from this meeting.” Are you ready for your morning on the mountain with Jehovah?
The Children of Israel had pitched their tents at the edge of the wilderness of the great Sinai desert in the presence of a smoldering mountain sharing its name. The Lord has brought them safely out of Egypt and they are taking a break for the journey ahead. Moses, their leader, left camp and went up into the mountain to present himself to Jehovah after having received a call from Him out of the mountain. It is here that Jehovah reminds Moses of what He had done and why; “Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (Exodus 19:4). Jehovah brings us through our spiritual wilderness unto Himself because that is where He wants every one of His children, with Him.
Moses understood the three stages of a spiritual life—worship, waiting and work. He understood that service to Jehovah requires discipline, as well as, obedience and you cannot get into all three at once. Unfortunately, some of us go about the worship and work stages like spiritual frogs, jumping from worship to work to worship, leaping over the waiting. Jehovah’s purpose for us is that the three stages should go together you cannot have one without the other two. Moses kept the three stages in perspective, he was never rushed or impatient in worship or work and was willing to wait for the call from Jehovah.
The value of our public service for Jehovah is measured by the private and profound communion we have with Him. It is in the midst of this quiet time with Jehovah that He instruct and reminds us of the things He has done for us out of the abundance of His love for us. We have to pitch our tents at the foot of the mountain where we can hear “the still quiet voice” of the Lord when He calls us to Him from His Holy Mountain. Regardless of how noisy our world may be we must have some quiet time with the Lord. This is the difference in being called and answering of your own free will versus being sent for and coming by force.
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:6). The reality of being in Jehovah’s presence is not dependent upon being in any particular place, but is wholly dependent upon the saint’s determination to set Him always before us in humble submission. The problem for many modern believers, as it was in Moses’ time, is rooted in a refusal to rest on the assurance of Jehovah’s presence. We will not be a peculiar treasure to the Creator until our faith is based on the reality of His presence; “Walk before me,” and not the conscious awareness of it. He is present at all times.
Moses made three trips up and down that mountain to be in the presence of the Lord, how many are you willing to make? Jehovah never fails to show up at the places which He has called us to meet Him. Too many Christians stay where they are because they are so concerned about the people camped out with them at the foot of the mountain. When you do not heed the call of Jehovah you rob them and yourself of the opportunity to receive the instructions, reminders and blessings He may give you to share with His people. You and they are robbed of the promises, covenants and the right to be “a peculiar treasure” unto Him.
“And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mount; and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up” (Exodus 19:20). When we heed the call of Jehovah to come up a little higher and leave all consequences to Him, the Angel of the Lord will go before you as a cloud by day and a pillow of fire by night. Simply put, He will lead you, instruct you and order your steps along the path He has laid before you. If you do not obey you are in the way. Be careful not to debate with Jehovah and put what men call duty in open competition with the calling of Jehovah. “I know He called me to come, but my responsibility was here” that means you do not believe that Jehovah means what He says; “and thou shall come up.” No, your duty and responsibility is to come when He calls.
“So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them” (Exodus 19:25). I am amazed by the generosity of Jehovah. Moses made his three trips up the mountain carrying only His staff and a hunger for communion with the Lord. The irony is that although he went up empty-handed he always returned bearing treasure, the words and glory of Jehovah. Had Moses failed to heed the call there would be no Promised Land, no blood covenants, no Ten Commandments and no Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross. Aren’t you glad Moses had his morning on the mountain? Now it’s your turn to go up.
“And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount” (Exodus 24:3). Like Moses this is a trip we have to make alone, every man or woman for himself and herself. We go many places, we go to church, we even go through the motions, but sooner or later you have to go up the mountain to cultivate a personal relationship with the Lord. Such a relationship does not come easily, it requires a trip or two, maybe even three but there’s nothing like a morning on the mountain with Jehovah. God loves us, Jesus died for us, the Holy Spirit rest and abides with us and His grace is sufficient for us. Be blessed until the blessed call you blessed and bless someone in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ