Exodus 19-21: God has come to test you

Alright, so I want to make a promise that I’m not sure I can keep.  I realize that my posts have been going out a bit late for those who like to get up early and starting their day in the scriptures; and what better way to start the day really.  So, it is my intention to begin posting the daily readings the evening before.  That way they are available to everyone whenever they like it.  Just be patient with me!

This section of scripture, I hope, is familiar to some of you, if not most of you.  God giving Moses the 10 Commandments has been the scene of major movies, many flannel graphs and countless of those take home cartoon Bible stories that you used to get at Sunday School.  This is one of those perfect pieces of scriptures to look for something that had never popped out to you before.

What I want to point out briefly is the reaction of the Israelites in this scene.  Exodus 20:18 All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 “You speak to us, and we will listen,” they said to Moses, “but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.”  They were terrified, and rightly so.  They had witnessed first hand God’s prowess in dealing with the Egyptians and the display of thunder, lightening and fire had definitely unsettled them.  I find it interesting that their first response is to put someone in between God and themselves. I don’t know about you, but I crave to be more in God’s presence, yet these people who were experiencing God first-hand wanted to put some distance between themselves and God.  I have some trouble understanding that, but there is something to be learned in this.

Moses goes on to say  to the Israelites: ““Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear Him and will not sin.” 21 And the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.”  Their response was good and right.  There is supposed to be some fear in our hearts toward God, he is Almighty and Holy and Eternal, things we most definitely are not.  The Proverbs teach us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  The motivation for causing fear: so that we will not sin.  The author of Hebrews writes: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (10:31).  We would be wise to develop a healthy respect, fear and awe of  God Almighty.  For although he is our Saviour and Redeemer, he is also Judge and Mighty Warrior.

Happy reading.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 22-24

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