The children of Israel witnessed all kinds of displays of God while in the wilderness, from the miracles of the exodus to supernatural provision and protection, yet when God wanted to speak to them Himself they were too afraid.
We read in Exodus 19 that God descended on Mount Sinai in a cloud:
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
While I am inclined to believe the whole scenario probably indeed looked frightful, they had prior revelation of who God was and how much He loved them and had already done for them. They had already experienced His goodness. They had even spent days in consecration preparing for His visitation. Yet they were afraid.
God says in His word that He does not change. I have to believe in the midst of the lightning show, God’s amazing drawing presence was there. This was the same God who had walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, and they were not afraid. Until sin that is…
All the consecration in the world could not make up for how holy God is compared to how lost humanity was. And God knew it would happen. He knew what the reaction would be. Moses even let the people know God intended for fear to be a motivator at the time for their attempts at holiness, but this was temporary.
When Christ redeemed us something happened. The veil was torn, and the Bible shows us that we, not the temples made by man or even a mountain in the wilderness, have become the dwelling place of God. Through the blood of Christ, we have the ability not only to stand in the awesome holiness of the Father, but the Spirit of God actually comes to dwell in us. Temples exchanged for walking and talking mud dwellings. Mountains exchanged for miniscule you.
I can’t even begin to comprehend it, but the same God, who dwelt in a cloud on Mount Sinai, whose presence caused thunderings, lightning flashes, and heavenly trumpet blasts, is inside of you and me. It’s hard to comprehend, but it should surely make your day a little easier when you realize it.
I think too often we imagine that when we become born again, some little heart-sized Jesus comes to live inside of us, and as a result, we tend to live like it. But when I try to imagine staring up at the mountain, engulfed in God and terrible awesomeness, and then realize that He lives inside of me, what a change it makes to my walk and what I can face throughout my day!
Posts like this are devo’s that I have written for our church home, Freedom Fellowship International, in Waxahachie, TX. Our devotionals are written weekly by leaders and lay people alike. Brothers and sisters in Christ just like you doing life together. For more you can visit FFI’s website at www.peopleatffi.com and click on the Prayer Focus Link. You can also listen to messages online and find out more about us. If you are in the area we’d love to have you visit.