The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction. –Exodus 24:12
This is a fascinating portion of Scripture. At first glance, it looks like God is merely calling Moses to climb the mountain in order to receive the laws and commandments God has for His people. But, there is something so much bigger going on.
The phrase “stay here” in this text is better translated by the phrase, “be here” or “exist here.” So, this has led scholars over the years to wrestle with what Moses is actually being asked to do. Is God calling him to climb the mountain to merely get the tablets of stone, or is He asking of Moses something much more profound?
In essence, God is asking Moses to climb the mountain, not only to collect the tablets of stone, but to come up and be there — to exist there. He is asking Moses to come up and to be fully awake, fully alive and fully present with God in that moment. He is asking Moses to live fully awakened to the fact that he is in the very presence of God, the creator and sustainer of all, in the here and now.
God knows that we live our lives at a breathless pace, rushing from one place to another. In essence, what God is saying to Moses is simply this: “Don’t miss it.” Don’t miss what is going on all around you. Don’t be so focused on somewhere else that you miss the very moment that you are in. Like Moses, our tendency would be to climb the mountain, thinking the whole time about what might be on the top, only to reach the top, thinking about what might happen when we get back down. All the time, we miss the mystery of the present moment.
What would it look like to live a life that is fully present? What would it look like to see God all around you, to live in the mystery of the present moment? I wonder how that would change our perception of what is important in this life.
Today, may our prayer be, God, awaken me to who You are and what You are doing in this world. Help me not to be looking forward to something or somewhere else. Help me not to miss it. Help me not to miss You.
1. What keeps you from living fully awake and fully present?
2. What does it mean to you to live fully awake to the presence of God all around you?
Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 46:8-11