The verse we are focusing on is Exodus 24:12, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Note the English phrase, “come up”, is translated from the Hebrew word עֲלֵ֥ה (ah-leh) (Strong’s #5927) which means, “to go up”. God knew that in order for Moses to obtain the complete revelation that He had for Him, Moses needed to disengage from his surroundings so that he could focus completely upon God. So, God commanded Moses to come up to the top of Mt. Sinai.
The phrase, “be there” in verse 24 is translated from the Hebrew phrase, הְיֵה־שָׁ֑ם – (h’yeh sham). In the previous verses, the elders of the children of Israel had offered sacrifices to God. However here, no mention is made of building an altar, or offering sacrifices. Moses waited six days (verse 16) atop Sinai before God called to him from the cloud on the seventh day. What did Moses do during those six days? He was not reading the Bible because he had not written it yet! He was not reading commentaries as there were not any. He was not talking to anyone because he was alone. God said He wanted Moses to just “be there”. Moses waited and meditated upon God. Patience is a lost art in our society today. Everyone wants everything to happen instantly. However if we truly want to know God, we must learn patience and to wait upon God.
Moses experienced God face to face as Deut. 34:10 tells us, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” This phrase, “face to face” (Hebrew: פָּנִ֖ים אֶל־פָּנִֽים – panim el panim) is repeated three other times in the T’nakh: Ex. 33:11; Num. 14:14; Deut. 5:4. The Bible tells us clearly that no other prophet in Israel ever knew God the way Moses did. Certainly Moses’ “waiting ability” had much to do with his closeness to God! Our modern society has programmed the younger generation to need constant external stimuli so they are always on the smartphone – texting, tweeting, facebooking and seeing what is trending. This behavior has produced an entire generation with no original thinkers – everyone believes what is trending or what they are told to believe by someone else, by the news agencies (which are not reliable), or by the ‘movement’ they identify with. Few people think their own original thoughts and even fewer think deep thoughts about God! However, the only time we can do deep thinking (ie, Biblical meditation) is when all external stimuli are turned off. Biblical meditation means to deeply ponder and pray over Biblical truths. We have produced a generation that does not know how to wait on God like Moses had to wait and because of that, we do not experience God like Moses experienced Him either.
Time our most precious gift: So what did Moses do while waiting on God? Well, he was giving to God his most precious possession: time! God puts a high priority upon our fellowship with Him and wants a close relationship with us. He is a person, and as with any person that we are close to, we must invest time in our relationship with them or we drift apart. No one today has time for anyone anymore. Everyone is “busy”. In the old days, people used to visit their friends. Then the phone came and they replaced visits with calls. Then calls were replaced with emails. Now we are fortunate if we get a simple text. Our generation which has all the technology, has almost zero true communication. Tragically, the same is true with our relationship with God. He does not want to hear from us once a week while we are running out the door to work! He created us for fellowship and He will never give us peace without this deep relationship with Him!
Note the final phrase in Exodus 24:12, “that thou mayest teach them.” God’s purpose in giving the Law to Moses was so that he could in turn, teach it to the children of Israel. The best Bible teachers are those who spend time knowing God. I do not mean knowing “about” God by reading a book. I mean, “knowing God”. The only way to truly know someone is to be with them a lot! Like He did to Moses, God will sometimes place us in a ‘desert place’ of life so that we can be removed from things that are distracting us from seeking Him. He may remove us from family, friends, activities, or even our job or ministry. He desires to speak with us and He desires that we listen to Him. Only then will our words have power and relevance to our hearers. Do not despair if you find yourself in a ‘desert place’ of God’s making, but rather move forward to God. “Be there!” with Him and trust that He has designed this circumstance especially for us so that we may draw closer to Him. Moses is our example. He knew God ‘face to face’. I sure want to know God that way! Don’t you?