5/6b The Story of Jehovah’s Covenant with Moses

Welcome back as we continue to discuss how our Creator is a Covenant making God, choosing to honour and bring deliverance to His creation.  In the last post, we set the scene from Abraham onto the next Covenant, the Covenant which would see Jehovah’s chosen people come to their promised land.


From Genesis chapter 20, we get the story line.

“It was certainly colder up on this part of the mountain”, Moses muttered to himself as he sat, huddled and waiting.  He had been told to come up the mountain, that terrible mountain burning with fire and smoke. 

How the people had trembled!  They had begged God not to talk to them, actually begged the God of Creator not to talk to them it was so terrible the voice.

“So now I sit and wait for my God, this Jehovah Eloah only true God.  It has been so long with these people, trying to help them see that He is not a God of fire and wrath.  I thought some of them understood with the miracles, with the judgements on the pagan nations around us …. but did they really?

“What’s that I see…. Can that really be….  God’s hand hid me as I could not look on His holiness, His glory and live.  He asks me to write…to write His words down on these stone tablets He has provided.   So I write and I write.  His light shines and I can see the stone tablets.

“So now I am finished and I slowly start down the mountain of fire and smoke to share His words with these stubborn and rebellious people.  So many times, I thought they would be abolished from the face of the Earth in their defiance of His ways.

“Noise…I hear laughter, noise….  Oh Lord Jehovah ….the people… They are dancing around…. and idol … an image of the golden calf they used to worship in Egypt!  How can they do this? 

“Aaron, Aaron where are you?  How could you let this happen?  Do you know what he, my trusted helper, said?  ‘The people brought their gold and jewels and I just threw them into the fire ….. and out came this golden calf!’  Lord Jehovah, have mercy!

“I must admit I was so angry with this rebellious people that I threw the stone tablets down and they broke.  Lord Jehovah forgive me. 

“Disaster…every where is blood and death, the people … died for their rebellion.

“Now I journey back up the mountain, that terrible mountain of fire and smoke to hear His words again, the write His words again.  May the people realise what they have done!”



This “School-Master”covenant was made on Mt. Sinai between Jehovah Eloah only true God, and Moses.  It is one of the most intricate, complicated and difficult pacts ever given by God.  Part of Jehovah’s purpose was to show Israel (and all mankind) that sinful man could never even begin to meet His holy, perfect requirements – except through His Way, through Jesus the Christ.

There is nothing we can do to earn that place beside our Creator through our own good works!  Therefore, the debate about meeting God’s requirements through the Law versus only by His Grace is forever answered in Jesus.

This covenant includes the moral laws (the 10 commandments), civil laws, regulations on health and hygiene, food laws and a long list of ceremonial laws on feasts, building and running the tabernacle, duties for the priests and general rules about the worship and service of Jehovah.

1.  Who Made this Covenant and Why

God made this covenant with a sovereignly chosen Moses and through him, the Hebrew people.  They were to be the ones redeemed and adopted into a special relationship with Him, Exodus 2:25, Deut. 4:22-37, 7:6-8, 8:17-18.

Some parts of the Mosaic covenant are ‘temporal’, pointing to its eventual fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ, “ …. the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world … “.  The later covenant with Joshua, Deut. 27:28-30, added provisions for conquering and keeping the land of promise, a ‘revocable’ agreement with Jehovah.

The Covenant was conditional, as perseverance and obedience are the only way to receive His blessings in the here and now – the same for New Covenant believers.  The pre-condition for continuing to live in the Promised Land was obedience.

2.  The Words of the Covenant of Moses

‘Holiness’ is an integral part of this covenant, influencing both the stated ‘blessing for obedience’ and the ‘curses for not keeping the whole of the Law’.  There are three major categories of law in the Covenant:

a)  The moral law – the 10 commandments, setting out the God-given measuring stick.  They are the righteous standards for conduct in all relationships, both with God and man.

b)  The civil laws – a variety of regulations governing the civil, social, economic, personal and legal aspects of living.  There were regulations on health, hygiene and food laws plus listing the punishments for breaking the laws, recorded in Exodus 21 to 23.

c)  Thirdly, a long list of ceremonial laws on celebrations and feasts, building and running the tabernacle.  Also requirements on tithing, duties for the priests, sacrifices and general rules about worship and God’s sanctuary.

3.  The Conditions or terms of the covenant

Israel would receive the promises of the Mosaic covenant, plus other blessings, IF … !!!!  This was a conditional covenant.

As we see in the continuing story of the people as they journeyed to their promise Land, human nature again took over with rebellion and disbelief.  The people failed to keep their relationship with their Creator and chosen God; they turned back fro following His ways ….. and wander for 40 years in the uninhabited land around them …. instead of a quick journey of a few months.

In our next post, we will continue with Moses’ and Jehovah El-Elyon’s Covenant as see the other parts of this amazing agreement made with Jehovah and man.

Susanne Fengler, Blog author


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