If you've been living under the assumption that God is a kindly old man like Santa Claus, chapters like Exodus 19 will come as a big eye opener.
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Exodus 19 Summary
After months of traveling through the wilderness, God calls a meeting with His people. In calling the people to Him, God first defines their relationship in covenantal terms:
I HAVE BEEN YOUR GOD
I freed you from the Egyptians
I carried you to me on eagle's wings
YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE
obey my voice
and keep my covenant
Notice how this relationship will work: God will bring His holy presence near the people, but the people must not come near God. Even after three days of consecration - ritual washings to set them apart from the rest of humanity - the Israelites would be nowhere near holy enough to even glimpse God. Instant death would come to any creature that ventured near God as He descended upon the mountain.
Since this barrier of holiness separates God from His people, communication takes place through a mediator. God speaks to Moses, and Moses then relays the message to the people.
In the next chapter, God will speak directly to the people, giving them the ten commandments.
Most people in our communities have a massively flawed understanding of who and what God is. Each of us instinctually tries to remake God in our own image.
Many people have at least some conception of God's power & might and how He cares & provides for people. But what so often gets missed about God is His terrifying holiness.
Notice how dangerous the mere presence of God's goodness and perfection is to sinful men: even those who've spent three days attempting to make themselves holy. Coming to close to God's holiness would instantly kill them.
God came near to Israel through the mediation of Moses, who himself was far inadequate to the task. Praise God that you have been made holy through the blood of the perfect mediator, Jesus Christ.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father in heaven who dwells in unapproachable holiness;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for making you holy in Christ, and pray that you will live in that holiness.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: