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You Speak To Us

Exodus 20:18-19 (ESV) — Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”

People talk about fearing God. There is a healthy fear and reverence we should all have of God. He is the Holy One. He is our Creator and Author over our lives. We have our breath, life, and being in Him. Our second-by-second existence is totally held together by His will that we live. That alone should produce a healthy and reverent fear of Him. 

But our passage today highlights a different kind of fear. It is the fear of being in the presence of a Holy God when you recognize you are a sinner. It is recognizing how small you are and how big He is. In the passage, it tells us that the people of Israel were at the base of the mountain where Moses met with God. They saw the thunder and flashes of lightning. They heard the sound of a trumpet and smoke rose from the mountain. 

The people’s response? Fear. They trembled and stood far away. They pleaded with Moses that he speak to them instead of God. His sheer power and might nearly crushed them. Instead of having God speak to them all, they preferred Moses be the mediator for them. 

This story reminds us of who our God truly is. He is matchless in power and might. We should never be flippant when interacting with God. His greatness and otherness can be overwhelming. But unlike the sinful Israelites in the wilderness, we have reason not to fear His presence. Our sins are forgiven because Jesus bore the punishment for our sins at the cross. Jesus gives us access to the Father without fear. Now we can appreciate the greatness of God without trembling at arms distance because we are terrified of Him. 

Seek Him today. Do not fear bringing yourself before Him. In Christ, you are welcomed.

Reflection & Journal:
- Why were the people terrified for God to speak to them directly?  
- Do you think unbelievers today would be terrified in God’s presence? Why? 
- How does Jesus change what kind of fear we have of God?

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