Journey Through The Scriptures

Mountains and Waters of Israel

Lesson 2: Mountain of God - Part 2

(Scripture to Read: Exodus 19:1–25; 34:1–5, 27–35)

We cannot overstate the importance of the Law – the Torah – that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai (whose exact location is uncertain, although many believe it was in the southern Sinai peninsula). It was here that the Israelites truly became a nation, united under God’s Law and the leadership of Moses. Israel made camp at Sinai as God prepared to give them His holy Word. There is a Jewish midrash (a commentary on a Bible text) which suggests that the entire world, including all the animals and birds, heard God speak the Ten Commandments to Moses. Both Jews and Christians affirm the Commandments’ eternal validity.

It was also at Sinai that God forged a relationship with Israel that is still strong today. The power of this meeting between God and man is evident in the fact that Moses’ face was radiant and glowing when he descended Sinai to deliver the Torah to the people. Their sin with the golden calf (Exodus 32) had made it necessary for Moses to return and receive a new set of stone tablets. But his shining face made it clear that God had accepted him! The Israelites were afraid to come near Moses, and he had to cover his face with a veil while among them, removing it only to enter God’s presence.

Study Questions

  1. Explain why God’s instructions to the Israelites regarding their conduct at Sinai were so rigid and even stern.
  2. God gave Israel a second chance to receive the Torah and live by it. What hope does this give us in our relationship with God?
  3. Why was Moses' face radiant as he came down from Mount Sinai?
  4. Why do you think the people were fearful of Moses when he came down from Sinai?

Something to Think About

The Bible is explicit that Moses was different for having been with God. Even though we do not speak with God “face to face” as Moses did, we too should also be different after experiencing God and His majestic, holy presence.