"I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me." Psalm 119:102
Text: Exodus 24 : 7
IN TIMES PAST
In times past, the worship of the Lord would end with the sacrifice being laid on the altar. All worshippers would perhaps pause and linger for a little while before they moved away from the altar. But this time round, the worship did not end with the burnt offerings and peace offerings laid on the altar.
THE BOOK OF THE COVENANT
God had given detailed instruction to Moses in Mount Sinai. After coming down from the mountain, Moses had wasted no time. He put all that he remembered into a book. Aptly, he called it “The Book of the Covenant”.
“Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read
in the hearing of the people…”
1. The first such Book
Israel had great oral traditions! Perhaps they even had some kind of writing material that contained words of wisdom. But never had the nation ever seen such a book as the one that Moses read from!
2. The first formal reading of the Book of the Covenant
Giving of a homily at a worship service would not be unexpected. For instance, a person could encourage worshippers by speaking of what the Lord had done for them. However, the giving of a message would be quite different from the formal reading of the Book of the Covenant. This Book would constitute the first attempt to compose Holy Scripture!
3. The Covenant encoded in a book
The great Abrahamic Covenant was passed down from one generation to another! No one seemed to have attempted to put the Abrahamic Covenant into a book form! But now Moses wrote down all that God had spoken to him into an actual book! He even read from the Book of the Covenant!
4. “In the hearing of the people”
Worship had been raised to another level! In the past, worship tended to be merely offering a sacrifice or two! But this new element that was added was outstanding. The reading of the Holy Scriptures added much to the significance of worship.
The Word of God contained in the Book of the Covenant became the focal point of worship. From the reading of the Scriptures, people could now hear, as it were, the voice of God speaking to them!
Worship was never meant to be merely performing rituals! The meaning of worship was also never meant to be restricted to spiritual leaders! The “common people” were also meant to hear and benefit from the reading of the Sacred Writ.