And the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 19: 10-12
God issued very specific instructions for the people to follow as they prepared to hear from Him at Mt. Sinai. The time of physical preparation – bathing, changing clothes, getting ready – created a sense of honor towards God. Bathing wasn’t something done often by desert travelers. But coming into God’s presence – even from a distance and if only to hear His voice – required a cleaning up to be ready. This day would be different from all those other days trudging through the desert.
You and I do that spiritually when we confess our sin and get clean before God. I John 1: 9 says – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Getting clean before God brings such freedom! And how amazing that we only need confess. As we move on to study the laws for sacrifices, we will see that forgiveness was not so easy for the Israelites. Animals had to be slaughtered. Blood had to be collected and sprinkled. A priest had to be involved. But because Jesus became the “once and for all” sacrifice, getting clean for us is just a confession away.
Have you confessed to God today…or this week? Are you experiencing the fresh clean feeling of a spiritual bath that comes when you claim I John 1: 9 –when you confess your sin and are purified from all unrighteousness? I f you are feeling a sense of distance of separation from God, perhaps a time of confession and cleansing is in order.
Hearing from God in Exodus 19 also meant keeping a physical distance. Moses shared God’s clear instructions about keeping their distance from the mountain. There was a reverence and a respect cultivated by this barrier. And then the storm-like physical phenomenon when God descended. Surely, it must have been like witnessing a volcano erupting! There was smoke and fire and the mountain trembled.
Because of Jesus, we don’t have to keep our distance. We don’t have to wait for the mountain to tremble. We most likely will not see fire and smoke. But we know we are His. We can talk to the same God who descended on that mountain before the people.
Isn’t that extraordinary? I have coffee with Him every morning! I can approach Him. I can talk to Him. He loves me. The same God who entered into that covenant with the Israelites…knows me and He loves me!
We have access to Him in a way the Israelites could never have imagined. But to have that opportunity and fail to keep the appointment? Why? Are you standing God up? What could possibly be more important than spending time with our great God?
The woman of God can approach God because of Jesus.
And she DOES approach Him. What do you need to set aside to keep your daily appointment with Him? Good Morning America? Fox News? Live with Kelly and Michael? Re-runs of Matlock?
Perhaps we should renew our thankfulness for the privilege of coming to God – having full access to Him – and then commit to exercise that privilege.
The audio for this week’s teaching lecture can be found here: