Tuesday of Transfiguration – Exodus 24:8-18 

And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst 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. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

In 1858, Ulysses Grant was a failed farmer. He was reduced to cutting firewood and selling it on the street corners of St. Louis to buy necessities for his family. The outbreak of the Civil war changed all that. A graduate of West Point, he was soon promoted and leading troops, successfully. By the end of the war, Lincoln had put him in command of all the armies of the Union. By the next presidential election, he was sitting in the White House as President of the United States. After he left office, he became the first President ever to circumnavigate the globe.

The high point of that trip might have been his dinner with Queen Victoria of England. It was pretty hard to imagine that a man who had been selling firewood on the street corner in St. Louis just a few years earlier would receive a dinner invitation from the queen.

As hard as Grant’s dinner with the queen to imagine, is pales when compared to the events which Moses records in this passage. The elders of Israel, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu were invited upon the mountain to dine with God. They saw the God of Israel, they ate, and they drank, but they did not die. I wonder what they ate. Moses does not tell us. I love the detail that Moses puts in here, though. The pavement under God’s feet was like sapphire stone, clear as heaven. It is as if that is as close as they can get to describing that sight. They can describe the flooring. Pavement of sapphire stone is probably not something you can pick up at Home Depot.

All this of course is preceded by an important statement. Moses took the blood of a sacrifice and threw it on the people. It is only then that they ascend the mountain. The day comes when we shall see this sight, the One who stands on that pavement. Our eyes shall behold Him, and we too shall live. For we are also washed in blood, the blood of the Lamb, the One who stands on that sapphire pavement, clear as heaven.

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