The Israelites have now arrived at Mount Sinai, also called Mount Horeb. The LORD tells Moses to go up the mountain so that He could meet him there. The LORD then revealed to Moses His plans for His people Israel. They were to become a kingdom of priests to the surrounding nations. A priest is one who represents God to others. Israel’s assignment is to live in such a manner as to create great blessings among its people, to the extent that other nations would desire to copy Israel, and also be blessed. Accordingly, Israel was to attract other nations to worship the true and living God through their example; that following God’s ways was a superior way of life. The superior manner of living is to be self-governing, recognizing God’s ways as the foundation for law.

God commanded that the people approach the mountain in order to go through a ceremony that would consecrate them for this purpose. The LORD then appears on Mount Sinai. All of this was done to prepare the Israelites for becoming His priests to the nations, and to prepare them for the giving of His law.
Exodus 19 can be outlined as follows:

The LORD Defines a Covenant with Israel (Ex. 19:1 – 9)
The LORD Consecrates Israel (Ex. 19:10 – 15)
The LORD Descends to Sinai (Ex. 19:16 – 25)

The Mosaic Covenant: A Conditional Covenant

This covenant is an agreement between God and Israel, adding various conditional promises to the unconditional promises of God. In this covenant, God clearly spells out to Israel the consequences for disobedience as well as the blessing for obedience.

Exodus 19:1-9

God wants to make a covenant with Israel. He plans for His people to be a kingdom of priests to the nations by following His commands. The people agree to obey Him in all things.

Exodus 19:10-15

The LORD tells Moses to consecrate the people in order to prepare them for the making of the covenant. God will come down to Mt. Sinai on the third day of these preparations.

Exodus 19:16-25

The LORD descends to Mount Sinai with thunder, lightning, cloud, and trumpet sounds. Only Moses and Aaron are allowed to climb the mountain to meet with the LORD. Any violation of these rules would be tragic.