“Sunrise” as viewed from Mount Sinai
It started on the morning of the
third day, just as God had told
Moses it would.
A cloud moved in—blistering dark—and swallowed the newly risen sun. An eerie sight made even more unsettling, once the first blade of white fire had flashed and struck the ground. On its heels, another strike. And another. Thunder shook the camp. The earth rumbled and moved.
Grown men dropped to the sand, curled, and shielded their heads. Children ran screaming into the folds of their mothers’ skirts. Women wailed while dragging their children back inside their tents. Then out of nowhere, an unrelenting, ear-piercing trumpet blast split the air. The Israelites covered their ears and begged it to stop.
The Promulgation of the Law in Mount Sinai (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This was the Israelite’s reality that morning. Nothing else. Not breakfast. Not work. Not even an argument. Only what felt like the end of the world.
Moses gathered up God’s people—previously consecrated, clothes washed, and three days pure in body—and led them out of the camp to the foot of God’s Mountain to meet with the Instigator of such holy dread.
But the mount was burning. The presence of the Divine billowed up like smoke from a colossal furnace.
“Go for us!” They cried out to Moses. “Pray for us that we don’t die here.”
Oh, to have the gift of holy fear! To be shaken out of my apathy into grateful reverence and continually be a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God. This is my spiritual service of worship, after all. Each waking minute of each day. A living and obedient sacrifice. Taking every thought captive.
But it is not my clothes that need washing today, nor is it a ceremony of purification I must practice. It is my heart that needs to beat anew with love for Jesus; whose perfect death has torn the veil of separation and opened up heaven to me.
No more fear of death! Perfect, mature love for Jesus expels all fear. But if I am afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and shows that I have not fully experienced His perfect love (I Jon 4:18).
Because of Jesus, there is no more barrier to Eternal Life, for Christ has made my access secure. “And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure (I John 3:3).
Radiant splendor of God, bring me to my knees and make me tremble with gratitude. For I know You will not devour me but cleanse me with Your holy fire. My lips are unclean, and my thoughts are cruel, and my deeds are sometimes selfish or dispassionately withheld.
Holy God, nothing separates us from Your intimate love for us. Your true children come with confidence then, to the throne of Your fearsome Majesty. We find there countless unexpected mercies and forgiveness incalculable. Our fear is a reverent fear; for perfect love is not afraid of You, Elohim.