Exodus 24 Buying In To Covenant

Questions: What is the basis of covenant? What fealty do we owe God? How is that manifested? “Read More” to pursue answers.

Lord, speak to me through your Spirit and your Word, your Body and your Blood;
that I might know you as you are, and manifest the image of Christ in this world,
and the world to come. Amen.

Exodus 24

And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

There’s a certain dja v about this, since it reprises what happened in chapter 19:

And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

And Moses even has them say it again four verses later:

And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

The author really seems to be hammering home the point that the nation of Israel consciously, voluntarily and repeatedly committed themselves to obeying God. That is, their relationship with God and His moral precepts was not a subconscious inheritance, but a deliberate choice — primarily in response to what God had already done. It is no doubt significant that most of the covenants we’ve seen so far (Adamic, Noahic, Mosaic) have been in response to God’s creative intervention. The only exception I can find is the Abrahamic covenant, which seems more to anticipate than reflect God’s actions on Abraham’s behalf.

The other big theme of this chapter is that — even though everyone agrees to the covenant, and the nobles also see God — Moses (with help from his padawan Joshua) is honored as the sole implementor of that covenant:

And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the
people go up with him.

Why? Certainly it would seem easier for everyone to see God, and hear his commands? Surely that would produce more widespread obedience, right?

Well, maybe not. Aaron and Hur see God, and know his commands, but I seem to recall that will backfire on them. Perhaps the deeper lesson is that it is one thing to “know about” God — even from direct experience — but quite another to “know God” and truly understand His heart. It sounds trite, but the source of Moses’ authority apparently really is his relationship with God — and vice versa!


God, I want to be like Moses. I don’t merely want to know about you indirectly, or even have superficial experiences of you. I want to know your heart, and your purpose, and to be your friend. Help me to dwell in your presence, and learn how to exercise just authority towards those around me. Make me pure in heart, that I may see not just your glory, but your love. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

About the Title:

Today’s title refers not to our paying for a covenant, but rather the business idea of “buy-in” as “emotional acceptance” — as well as how God apparently “earns” the right to covenant with us via acts of deliverance.