Today's Reading: Exodus 29:1-37:24
What's in today's reading: Wow... more rules...
Moses is still talking to God and God is still giving him some rules. Today he receives directions on:
Consecration of the priests
Alter of incense
More furnishing for the tabernacle
Making anointing oil and incense
Who should make everything
Finally, Moses is headed down the mountain with all this stuff, ready to share everything with everyone. Only to find that his brother and the rest of the people had made themselves a golden calf and were having a crazy party.
Everything Moses and God had talked about, God had written on 2 stone tablets, front and back. Upon seeing what was happening, Moses threw them down and they broke at the foot of the mountain.
Then things take a weird turn.
Moses punishes the people by burning the idol and making the people drink the ashes. Then he draws a line in the sand (figuratively) and says "who is on the side of God?" The sons of Levi, that is those directly descended from Levi, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, form up. Moses tell them to take their swords and kill their brothers, companions, and neighbors. And about 3000 people are killed. Those that survive are cursed with a plague.
Why would God allow Moses to order executions?
We can only guess, but I think it's logical to conclude that this was the first "carrying out" of the laws Moses had just been given. Those 3000 were the ones that had deserved execution under the Law. But we are not given exact details of why those 3000 were executed and not more .
And so the people set out on their wanderings again. We're given a glimpse of daily life with Moses and his "tent of meeting" where he would meet "face to face" with God. One of their conversations is recorded for us where Moses is pleading with God, asking Him to please please stay with His people. Pretty please.
Moses makes new tablets, as directed, and heads back up Mount Sinai to have them re-written. God renews his promise with His people, giving them a second chance. (Thank you Lord for second chances!) The tablets are rewritten with the covenant and the Ten Commandments. (Yes, it states the Ten Commandments separately from the Covenant. But are we really sure the 10 we are so familiar with are THE 10? Verses 34:11-26 give other rules that sound an awful lot like commandments... hmmm. But we'll see later...)
And so, after all that, the people finally settle down and start doing what God commanded them. Our reading ends as they get to work building the tabernacle and all it's furnishings.