Posted by: genelnicholsblog | December 8, 2011

no casual encounter

I teach a Bible Study on Tuesday afternoons to a very enthusiastic group of young students…young at heart, that is.  You see, the average age is 88.  But they may just be the best class I have ever taught.  We have tackled the book of Revelation, Prophecy, and the life of David, and currently we are deep into the life of Moses.  This week as I prepared the lesson, I was hit hard with a concept that I feel all of us should reflect on as the New Year approaches.

God had led the Israelites to the Desert of Sinai, in the shadow of that great 8,000 foot mountain.  It would be here that God would speak to all of them through Moses and give the world the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 19:20
The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up

But before God would do that, there were four prerequisites for all the people to do:

Be Obedient
Open Your Heart to Listen
Consecrate (Cleanse) Yourselves
and
Show Great Respect for God

I would encourage you to take 10 minutes and read Exodus Chapter 19 because there is so much there – God gave very specific instructions for these preparations, especially in regards to showing respect for the Almighty.

verse 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…

This was God’s mountain, Mt. Sinai, where God himself was going to descend from Heaven and speak to all 2 million Israelites.  This was sacred ground where no one was to even touch the mountain unless God gave specific instructions for them to do so.  That is respect.  Nowadays we don’t see anything remotely resembling respect like that, do we?  Many refer to the “man upstairs” while using OMG on everything from phone texts to billboards.  One rock musician refers to “the big daddy upstairs” while another writes the hit lyrics, “What if God were just a slob like us?”

God has become our pal, our buddy.  This is a very casual and shallow view of God … and it’s wrong.

God is Holy
God is the Great I Am
God is Exalted
God is all-knowing
God is all-powerful
God is all-present
God is the Creator
The Maker
The Sovereign Lord
God is Love

You get the idea…He is anything but “the man upstairs.”

So what was it like to meet God that day in the shadow of the sacred Mt. Sinai?

verses 16-19
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. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 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 trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.

Wow!  Our daily time with the Lord is not quite as dramatic as this, but we must remember, we are talking to the same God as described in Exodus 19!

Obedience, listening, cleansing of our hearts . . . and Respect – our goal to meet God and hear His voice each day.


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