It’s eight-forty-five on a Sunday morning. Early to me. I’m fighting the alarm clock and hitting snooze every ten minutes when I should be puttering about the house in preparation for my quiet time. It’s not happening. The old sin-cycle is back, this deliberately choosing to stay in bed. I walk out of my room, then back again to the darkness and blankets. I look- someone has texted. My roommate Kelsey. “Want a cup of coffee?” I don’t remember what I said but I replied in the affirmative, thinking that she would leave extra in the pot on the counter.
Instead, in two minutes, I hear a light knock at my door, and she enters and my room is pitch dark and my hair’s a wreck and I’m still under covers. And she sets the coffee on my nightstand like an offering and leaves quiet as she came and I think- “I have GOT to get up”.
And it’s when I’m in the kitchen getting milk for the coffee that I see her- at the far end of the room, leaned over our dinner table. The apartment is dark, save for the light she has at that table, and it creates a vignette. I can see her Bible and journal open. I am convicted.
I open the window in my room and gently sit down and begin, some minutes later. I laugh a little to myself. I’m in Exodus, but not the cool Prince-of-Egypt part. No, I’m in the beginnings of the wanderings of the law, what to do if your neighbor’s cow falls in a hole, etc. (answer: help him out). I’m still sleepy and I pray words from Psalm 119:18. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” I do not pray that because I am awesome and holy. I pray it because the law is boring. I smile at that too. Mr. Piper said once that David must’ve said that because at the moment he wasn’t exactly beholding wondrous things in God’s law.
So I begin, and begin. God shows himself fearsome in the passage, in fire and clouds and lightning on the mountain. I read on. The people make the covenant, promise to obey God and follow his statutes always. I’ve read this book before, and I know how that goes down. I read on. The smoke and the fire and the lightning- and wait, seventy-four of the men get to go up near the mountain, for the confirming of the covenant? I see, in chapter 24-
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 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. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank. (vs. 9-11).
This strikes me as interesting- they beheld God, and ate and drank.
And I think that this must be somewhat out of the ordinary, so I find online commentaries and open the study Bible I use on rare occasions, and I find that most commentators say that this isn’t actually that out of the ordinary- it’s a covenantal meal. That’s what happens. Two people enter a covenant, and that agreement is confirmed through eating together. Okay. Makes sense.
And I think- and the Spirit- it must have been him; I wouldn’t have thought this, reminds me of another scene, many years removed from this one. Thirteen men sit around a table. The savior, the traitor, and the rest. And there’s some bread and there’s some wine…
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
These men, too, behold God, and eat and drink. In his gospel, Luke is clear to tell us that this is the new covenant. Our observance of this covenant is not by sacrificing sheep and goats, but rather, by remembering The Sacrifice—“proclaiming the Lord’s death” until He comes.
I go to church that morning. In our community, we take communion every week. I stand there with the cup and cracker, and time freezes for a moment. For I have beheld God…and I eat and drink. The new covenant is for me. I take of the bread and cup later in the week with two dear friends, in the quiet of a house in the evening after we speak of His goodness.
And that same week, I’m at theology class. We’re talking about creation. And the speaker talks about the redemption of creation, and, glory of crowning glory, he points us ahead to Revelation-
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
The covenant He wrought; it does endure. Wondrous thing indeed: we will behold God– in the radiance of all his splendor— and eat and drink, because by his mercy, we are his.