S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”
A long time ago, God entered into a covenant, a sacred promise, with the ancient Israelites. In every covenant, two sides make a promise to each other. So, when the Israelites entered into a covenant with God, God promised to lead and protect them, and the Israelites promised to follow his laws.
Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent some of the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. Moses drained half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.” Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions.” Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! Exodus 24:4-11 NLT
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down all these instructions, for they represent the terms of the covenant I am making with you and with Israel.” Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments—on the stone tablets. Exodus 34:27-28 NLT
[God said] “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains….I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear….I will look favorably upon you….And I will fulfill my covenant with you.” Leviticus 26:3-4a, 6a, 9 NLT
According to Exodus 34:27-28, what were the “terms of the covenant” that the Israelites agreed to keep? Which ones of these can you list from memory? (They are listed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.)
Exodus 24:4 says, “Moses carefully wrote down all of the Lord’s instructions.” Why would it have been unwise for Moses to write down only the instructions from the Lord that he liked?
Exodus 24:11 describes a covenant meal they ate in God’s presence. What is the covenant meal we eat in God’s presence today?
Lord, I thank you that you keep your promises. Even when we have trouble staying faithful, you remain faithful. You are our rock. As 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” You are holy and righteous. We trust in you and find our rest in your promises.