But God Ate and Drank with Them

See God and Live

But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. Exodus 24:11

On August 21, 2017, thousands of people in certain parts of the United States will be able to see a complete eclipse of the sun as the moon comes between the sun and the earth. However, certain conditions are necessary before anyone can see the eclipse. Special glasses are required because to look directly at it would cause serious eye damage or blindness.

For a human being to look at God, even for a second, would cause, not only eye damage or blindness but also death. Three months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites came to Mt. Sinai. When the Lord came down, the mountain quaked, a thick cloud of fire and smoke covered it, and a loud trumpet sounded. God told Moses only he could go onto the mountain. He was to place boundaries so no one would come too close; even a touch would result in death (Exodus 19:16-25).

Later God told Moses to bring Aaron and his sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy elders partway up the mountain to meet with Him (24:1-2).

But before the leaders could go, several conditions had to be met. All the people had to consecrate themselves. Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain and sent young men to offer burnt offerings and sacrifices. Moses then took the blood of the sacrifices, poured half on the altar and sprinkled the other half on the people (24:4-6).

Moses put in writing the covenant God was making with them and read it to the people. “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey,” they responded (Exodus 24:7-8).

Then Moses and the leaders of Israel went up and saw God. They saw God and ate and drank with Him but didn’t die (24:9-11).

God is holy, and can only come to His unholy people when they meet Him on His conditions. They can only come through faith, humility, obedience, and cleansing from sin based on the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Have you met the conditions necessary to allow the extraordinary presence of God to enter your ordinary life?


Compare Exodus 24:10 and Revelation 4:6. The leaders didn’t see God in a form that could be described. They saw, in effect, God’s footstool. What was below God’s throne and how did the apostle John describe it and other things he saw in Revelation 4?

What is the significance of Moses taking the blood of the sacrifices and pouring half on the altar and sprinkling the other half on the people? According to Exodus 24:1-8 who were the participants of the covenant?

What does the New Testament say about seeing God? See John 1:18, 5:37, and 14:7-9.

The people assembled at the foot of the mountain. Aaron, his sons, and the seventy elders went partway up. Joshua went up further, and then Moses alone met with God on the top. Where would you place your relationship with God? Does God speak to you? Do you relish the fellowship you share with Him?

Nancy J. Baker

This devotion is part of a series on the But God events in the Bible.


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