Read His Words Before Ours!
Holy ground, actually.
As Moses’ eyes caught glimpses of familiar land shapes, jutting rocks, and craggy mountain trees, memories flooded back.
He’d spent three months leading thousands of misfit Hebrews far from the impotent threat of a now-desolated Egyptian army. (Exodus 19:1-2)
The Lord was leading them out of slavery, never to return.
He would be their God and they would be His people, the sheep of His pasture.
The word made him grin as he plodded one 80-year old sandaled foot after the other into the warm sand. The irony of the Lord’s ways brought a chuckle inside of Moses. Just days ago, he’d led the people through Midian, home of his father-in-law, Jethro, and the stomping grounds of his first wilderness experience when he’d first fled from Egypt. Back then, a murderer on the run, he was certain he’d never return to Egypt. He’d lost himself on the hills of Midian, shepherding Jethro’s flocks, and fading into oblivion. He cast a glance behind him to the masses stretching back as far as his eye could see, listening to the cacophony of bleating goats, sheep, children’s cries, and teenage squabbles.
These were his sheep now.
This terrain was becoming more familiar; he was so close.
Close to where it happened nearly six years ago.
As he dared pull up the holy image in his mind’s eye, it was as if the sounds around him dimmed to nothing and the weight of the sacred pressed upon his soul. The bush had burned and crackled in the crags near Mt. Sinai, while its leaves remained green and its branches untouched.
“The place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5),
the I AM’s voice had seemed to fill the whole earth.
Moses breathed in, willing his mind to hold onto the precious scene. A rush of wind seemed to fill his senses, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” his heart sang within him. How could the I AM speak to him, tasking him with freeing the Hebrews from slavery?!
The moment ended, and as he lifted his head, sweat slipping around his eyes to mix with unexpected tears, he saw it in the distance, Mount Sinai.
He called the people to camp at Sinai’s base and then, with awe-filled trepidation, dared draw near. The Lord’s voice filled the space around Moses and his heart leapt for unspeakable joy. “Yahweh,” his soul breathed.
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians
and how I carried you on eagles’ wings
and brought you to myself.
Now if you will carefully listen to me
and keep my covenant,
you will be my own possession out of all the peoples,
although the whole earth is mine,
and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4-6)
Moses quaked inside, the power of the Divine washing over him.
He knew, like Abraham, neither he nor the Hebrews he led, had done anything to deserve such a grand invitation from I AM. Yet, His embrace opened wide, urging them to welcome Him as their God, to love and serve Him, for He would make them His Own People.
“I am going to come to you in a dense cloud so the people will hear[…] and believe. […]
Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow.
They must wash their clothes
and be prepared by the third day,
for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai
in the sight of all the people.” (Exodus 19:9-11)
As dawn’s pink light tinged Mt Sinai on the third day, thunder bellowed, and lightning flashed across the sunrise. Yahweh’s thick cloud descended, and a ram’s horn blasted, announcing the Almighty’s presence.
For forty days, Moses was enveloped in the glory of the Lord recording His Law on scrolls, except for the Ten Commandments, which the Lord inscribed on stone with His hand. (Exodus 31:18)
A holy God.
His righteous rules.
A people intended to be set apart reflecting His holiness.
But a people carousing before an idol of their making.
For forty-days the All-Knowing God knew His people were demonstrating the wickedness of their hearts in acts of wretched rebellion.
Yet, He continued to be present with Moses.
He still gave His Law, allowing access to Him.
Perhaps most significantly, He didn’t destroy them as they deserved.
Centuries later, on a hill outside Jerusalem, the sky would again blacken unexpectedly. Thunder would clamor, and the Father would turn His back on His Son as the earth shook.
With arms outstretched in an embrace grand enough to enfold the people of the world, Christ would die instead of the rebels who deserved eternal death.
Silence would fall, for death would seem to win, but three days later, Victory would rise from Death’s grave.
The Holy One who should have destroyed humanity for their sinfulness mercifully gave His life as their ransom.
Sisters, we are all at the foot of Mt. Sinai, dancing wildly around our idols while the Lord has made restitution for us through the spilled blood of His Son.
The Lord has been merciful!
Let’s crush our idols and embrace His sacrifice for us as He welcomes us Home as a people for His own possession, the sheep of His pasture!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!