Question: In Exodus 24:15-16, why did Moses have to wait for six days before God comes to speak with him?
In Exodus 24, Moses and his aides were to ascend the mountain where Moses was to receive the law and commandment God had written for their instruction (Exodus 24:12). Towards the end of the chapter, Moses goes up on the mountain and waits for the LORD for six days, and on the seventh day, God calls Moses. Exodus 24:15-16 says, “Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”
So, the question here is, why did Moses have to wait for six days before God speaks with Moses? The Bible does not explicitly say why God made Moses wait for the six days, but if we are to examine scripture, we can identify some keys as to why the waiting was necessary. I believe these are important lessons for us to understand, learn, and apply in our Christian walk with God.
Moses probably spent time praying and preparing himself to present himself to God in the six days of waiting. The preparation was for God to possibly teach humility, patience, devotion, and complete dependence on God. He was only to obey and trust. God commanded Moses to come upon the mountain and wait, and he did. Exodus 24:12 says, “The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” The command was to come up on the mountain and “wait”. God did not give a clear indication on how long to wait, and so by faith, Moses waited. He didn’t give up in the waiting, he didn’t turn back, he didn’t take matters into his own hands, but he knew if God had spoken, then he could trust him. Moses could trust in God’s sovereign timing, and He would present himself to Moses. Amen!
Moses had the ability to wait on the Lord. What this revealed is that Moses was confident in what God was doing. Confident in God’s word, His wisdom, His timing, His sovereignty, His purposes, and in His power. These are the qualities God requires of a leader of His people. Moses was to lead the people of God through the wilderness and into the promised Land. Someone who would trust in God and obey Him rather than trust in man or their “own” wisdom and abilities. Amen! Moses subjected his will to God’s will, terms, and timing.
In contrast, the Bible gives us another example of someone who didn’t wait on the Lord’s timing and failed miserably. In 1 Samuel 13, we read the account where Saul and his army waited for Samuel to arrive to offer a sacrifice and tell them what to do before going to war. The reason for the waiting was because of the command given in 1 Samuel 10:8, saying, “Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.” Saul waited for the seven days, and as soon as the week was over, he took matters into his own hands because Samuel had not arrived. 1 Samuel 13:8-9 says, “He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering.”
Saul was to wait seven days. Not only to wait for seven days, but after Samuel sacrificed, he was to listen to God’s command given through Samuel. Like Moses had to wait patiently for the Lord, these seven days were meant to teach Saul (as the leader) patience and dependence on God. Although he did wait for seven days, and when there was no sign of Samuel, he took matters into his own hands. He acted presumptuously because the people began to scatter. This reaction was a sign of weakness—a sign of impatience and self-reliance. By offering the sacrifice himself, he did not wait on the Lord until He spoke and instead, he trusted in himself. He took matters into his own hands. This is not the quality of the leader of God’s people, and he was unfit and unqualified. You see, God desires obedience to His word, to follow His commands, wait on His timing, and trust Him completely. This disobedience and distrust cost Saul his kingship over Israel, and it caused his destruction.
Friends, as children of God, leaders of His people, being part of the body of Christ, we are to display the same characteristics as Moses did in the waiting. It may not be easy, it may not be convenient, it may not even align to the way you think it should turn out like, but pleasing God requires obedience and your complete trust in His sovereignty and His will. His will is delivered to us in the scriptures. The requirements for Christian living, to be led by His Holy Spirit and His command for us to glorify Him in all we do. You see, Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”
If you are seeking God in a situation, then wait for him to answer. Do not take matters into your hands or use your wisdom. But wait until he speaks. Be humble in His presence, wait for Him, trust His timing, and act as He commands when He speaks. Amen!