In this passage, God calls Moses to the mountain. This is an incredible invitation to meet God and then bring back commandments that will shape a band of runaway slaves into a people. Lucky Moses! But then he spends six long days waiting for God's call to come up higher. In the meantime, Moses is neither with Israel in the camp nor with God on the mountain; he is between the present and God's new thing.
I hate to wait. And the more wonderful and new the thing coming, the harder the wait is. But when the moment finally comes, it can feel too soon. When my first child was finally born, I was struck by how unready I still felt.
How long those six days must have been. But Moses was not alone—he was with God in the promise God had made to meet him and to send him back with a gift and call for all the people.
Gracious God, you have called us and promise to be with us and gift us for your service. Thank you for filling even times of hard waiting with your life-giving presence. Amen.
Exodus 24:12-18 (NRSV)
12 The Lord said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction."
13 So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God.
14 To the elders he had said, "Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them."
15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.
16 The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud.
17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
18 Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.