Our 2 chapters in Exodus are especially ‘heart-challenging’ in our situation today! It was “the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt” [Exod. 19 v.1] They had experienced the miracle of crossing the Red Sea and seeing the fate of the pursuing Egyptians, then fresh water had been miraculously provided, and then manna! They now come to Mt. Sinai and experience “thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.” [v.16] Our next chapter (20) describes how “God spoke” and they hear the 10 commandments.
“Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning … the people were afraid and trembled…” [v.18] We then read how “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.’ ” [v.20]
What a challenging exhortation for us here! What experiences face us? It is difficult, if not beyond our imagination, to visually anticipate the angels coming to gather the elect! Next week we will read in Mark that “the powers in the heavens will be shaken … then they … see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory … (and) he will send out the angels and gather his elect …”[13 v.25-27]
What an awesome scene! Imagine it!? There are comparisons with the people arriving at Mt. Sinai! It is made more awesome – and challenging for us to visualize – when we read the preceding verses in Mark! Just previous to the angels coming – there is “tribulation” and “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling …”
Can we empathize with the people in the wilderness arriving at Mt. Sinai!? Moses words to the people – we can and should apply to ourselves – at this soon coming time! ‘Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.'”
We also remember what Jesus said, as recorded in Luke 17 v.30-34 about “the day when the Son of Man is revealed … Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it…. One will be taken and the other left.”
We are nearing our destination in the wilderness of this world, the final testing time for our faith! Let us be ready for when “God … come(s) to test you” and me – and do our best to make sure we are the reason there is a positive answer to question in the next chapter (v.8) ” … when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”