Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 20:18-21 (NIV)
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Exodus 20:18-21 (MSG)
All the people, experiencing the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the smoking mountain, were afraid—they pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.” Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.” The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
“Now all the people witnessed the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the smoking mountain; and as they looked, the people were afraid, and they trembled [and moved backward] and stood at a [safe] distance. Then they said to Moses, “You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him [that is, a profound reverence for Him] will remain with you, so that you do not sin.” So the people stood at a [safe] distance, but Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.” -AMPLIFIED
And so ends the giving of the Ten Commandments; we then have a short interlude and reminder that it was the people’s choice to have Moses as their go-between with God. Remember, Moses left the people at the foot of the mountain with a stern warning not to set foot on the mountain or face certain death.
Meanwhile, “Mount Sinai was all smoke because God had come down on it as fire. Smoke poured from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shuddered in huge spasms. The trumpet blasts grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. God descended to the peak of Mount Sinai. God called Moses up to the peak and Moses climbed up.” -Exodus 19:18-20 (MSG)
We have a quick flashback here after the giving of the Ten Commandments. A reminder, if you will, of what was happening on the mountain; the thunder, the lightening, the smoke, the shaking and the trumpet blasts. It was so majestic, and amazing that the people were afraid; as I think most of us would have been.
Moses spoke to the people; trying to reassure them. He encouraged them not to be afraid. The display of God’s great majesty was not intended to fill them with fear, but with wonder. God, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty One, Jehovah Himself, had come down to make covenant with His people. This was a good thing; something to rejoice and be glad in, not to fear.
“Do not be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.” Oh, if only we would heed and understand this admonition. God’s desire is that we do not fear Him, but have a reverent relationship with Him.
“Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].” -Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)
Heavenly Father, I come to you, just as I am; before the Mighty God, Creator of the whole Universe, and God over all. It is both humbling and frightening to realize how majestic and all-powerful you are; and how small, sinful and insignificant I am in the scheme of things. Yet, Lord, you choose to have a relationship with me, and for this I am thankful. Thank you, for choosing me, God. Thank you, for making a way for me, the created one, to have a commitment and bond with the Creator.