I praise You Lord for Your grace beyond deserving, love beyond imagining, patience beyond all reasoning.
At Mount Sinai
19 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. 8 The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”
14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain[b] trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.[c]
20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”
23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”
24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
- Exodus 19:6 Or possession, for the whole earth is mine. 6 You
- Exodus 19:18 Most Hebrew manuscripts; a few Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint and all the people
- Exodus 19:19 Or and God answered him with thunder
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”’1
The tourist board won’t let anyone over 50 climb Mount Sinai today, as I discovered when I visited some years ago. Moses was well past that age when he climbed it not once but three times, according to Exodus 19. The first time he received God’s promise that Israel would be his personal possession, ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ (vs 3–6). The second time, Moses having relayed the people’s submission to God, God took steps to enhance Moses’ status as their go-between and commanded him to prepare the people for God’s overpowering appearance (vs 7–15). The third time God came down to the mountain, shrouded in thunder, lightning, cloud and smoke, and spoke to Moses, while the people kept their distance, as they had been warned to do (vs 16–25).
Everything about this event is geared to magnifying God’s awesome being. It occurs on a high mountain, a summit in creation: nature conspires to conceal him in mystery; the earth trembles as he touches it, his voice thunders, inspiring fear. Israel, however special and though chosen for a special mission in the world, are cautioned not to encroach on the ground of this holy God or treat him as ordinary. He’s the unique one, who addresses them from beyond. This is altogether at odds with the way people conceive of God today, when they view him as a friend, an internal feeling, or merely as a voice within. Have we lost a right sense of awe at God? Reflecting on this scene, Hebrews 12 puts it in a fuller context. We still have an awesome, transcendent God, whom we should approach with reverent fear. At the same time, we’re also members of the joyful assembly who can approach God’s merciful throne because we have a mediator, Jesus Christ, whose blood sealed a new covenant.2
Read Hebrews 12:18–29. What does it teach us about the way we should approach God as Christian believers today?
Lord Jesus, in the light of all You have done for me, today I want to honor Your Name, sing Your praises, and acknowledge You as my King and Lord!
1 Heb 12:28–29 2 Heb 12:18–29
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Last Updated on August 20, 2022 by kingstar