top of page

Exodus 19:2-8a

This is the sign!

This! This is *the sign*!

This is *the sign* Moses had long expected. The LORD, on this mountain, with redeemed slaves who will now serve a new lord, the LORD!

Many people think the signs and wonders of Exodus – 7:3; too often called just “plagues” – are “the signs” of God’s primary action in the story of the Exodus. While frogs, darkness, hail and the Nile turned to blood are not insignificant, and while they serve the purpose of God with Pharaoh, these signs are not *the sign* of God’s primary activity.

The LORD first engaged Moses in order to bring a people out of Egypt so that this redeemed people would now become servants to a new lord, the LORD. The sign is given in Exodus 3 and it points all the way forward to Exodus 19. The story of Exodus 1 to 18 in many ways is about getting finally to Exodus 19.

Many people teach the Exodus as though it is the story of the LORD who frees a people. In fact, it seems to me that story of the Bible is that the LORD does not free a people to be free to do what they want. Rather, the LORD frees a people from the dominant reign of Pharaoh in order that these redeemed person would submit to the Sovereign Reign of the LORD.

We know that God does not simply free a people to do whatever it is they want, as the LORD clearly gives these newly redeemed people clear laws that will govern their lives. They are not free to do as they wish, they are free to become God’s people, a people of worship who serve the LORD. They are free to become a new kind of people, a new kind of kingdom, a new kingdom of nation – a Priestly Kingdom and a Holy Nation (Ex. 19:6).

I have written here that Exodus 19 is *the sign* so I need to qualify how this is *the* sign.

This is *the sign* because this episode in Chapter 19, at Mt. Sinai directly ties back to the theophany of the “Burning Bush” of Exodus 3. There are numerous important claims made about God in Exodus 3 with a particularly important question and response from Moses and the LORD in Exodus 3 which sets the stage for Exodus 19.