Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God came to the People

By Mary Vee
Exodus 19:1-20:21


God led us through the wilderness to Mt. Sinai.  It'd been three months since we left Egypt. The Israelites had fallen into some routines, but for the most part, we kept moving forward.


I instructed the people to set up camp at the base of the mountain. A few offered to stake my tent while I ventured up the mountain to seek God's will.  While there, the Lord commanded me to  deliver this message to the people: "You've seen what I did  to the Egyptians for you. If you will obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."


I returned to the camp and called the people together.  After delivering the Lord's word, the people cried "Moses, all the Lord has spoken we will do."


I reported the words of the people to the Lord.  He asked them to clean themselves and their clothing for his visit in three days. I'm still amazed that God plans to visit us. Sure, He delivered us from slavery in Egypt, and guided us to this place. But this time, He said He would let the people hear Him. Three days later, in the morning, thunder blared and lightning bolted from a thick cloud rumbling over the mountain.  A loud trumpet rang.  The Israelites pressed their hands over their ears and trembled. 

I led them closer to the edge of the mountain. Smoke rolled and boiled, swirling higher and circling around to rumble and boil up again because the Lord came to the top of the mountain in a great fire. The people huddled closer together as the mountain quaked. They were so afraid, they didn't speak.  A trumpet blasted for a long time, growing louder and louder. 

I looked at their faces then back at the mountain and then spoke to God. He answered me.  The Lord came down upon the top of the mountain and called, "Moses come."


I took the last step to the top of the mountain and listened. Before I could catch my breath the Lord commanded me to go back down and warn the people to stay back from the mountain. I didn't understand why He wanted me to say that when they had been told already to stay back.  The Lord shouted for me to go right away and tell the people his warning.


I practically ran back down to deliver His message.  I think some had tried to sneak closer than they were allowed. By the time I'd return to the camp the people had backed away and comforted each other after they'd witnessed the roaring thunder, lightening flashes, rolling smoke bellowing higher and higher, the mountain shaking, and the blast from the trumpet. They wiped away tears and hugged other working to calm their absolute fear. As I walked closer several cried out, "Moses, you can speak with us and we will listen; but please don't let God speak with us, lest we die."


I smiled and held my arms out to them.  "Don't be afraid, please. Look, God came to test you, to cause you to fear Him and thus to prevent you from sin."  


They heard my words, but insisted on staying back from the mountain's edge. That was smart. It kept the people from venturing up the the path as the Lord commanded. 


I went back up the mountain to meet with the Lord. There He spoke with me about several laws He also said He would send an angel before us and care for us as long as we obeyed. He told me to gather the people for a time of worship. I went back down to the camp and did what He said.
.

The people listened to the Lord's message and answered, "All the words which the Lord has said we will do." The next morning we had a wonderful worship service for the Lord.

Despite all God has done for us, I don't think we fully understood God's power. I'm glad He showed us.

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1.  What was the name of the mountain?
2.  Who came to visit the Israelites?
3.  God said "If you ____________ then you shall be to me a kingdom of priest and a holy     
        nation."
4. God loved the Israelites, like He loves you and me.  How did He show the Israelites He
       loved them in this story?  
5.  How does God do this for you?

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