"The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved." Psalm 93:1
IN ABSOLUTE AWE
God had caused His voice to be heard by the children of Israel! Graciously, He had given them Ten Commandments to live by! And what wonderful words these were! But the experience of hearing God speaking directly proved too much for the children of Israel!
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings,
the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet,
and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it,
they trembled and stood afar off.”
How terrified they were to behold such a sight! How humbled they felt as they heard God’s voice articulate the Decalogue! The words were clear enough, but comprehension was not the problem! How could they endure it if God were to continue to speak to them?
A DEEP -SEATED FEAR
The children of Israel summoned Moses and carefully expressed how they felt.
“Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear;
but let not God speak with us, lest we die.'”
Fear had gripped the hearts and minds of the children of Israel that they were unable to appreciate the significance of God speaking to them directly! They still wanted to know what God would teach them, but they would much prefer to have Moses relay the Lord’s messages, than to hear the voice of God personally!
Moses understood the fear that the children of Israel had! He too had been afraid of God at his first encounter with Him. He sought to allay their fears with these words.
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear;
for God has come to test you, and that His fear
may be before you, so that you may not sin.'”
There were other reasons why God appeared to the children of Israel, besides wanting to give them the Ten Commandments. Two reasons may be highlighted!
1. “God has come to test you”
God wanted to test whether the children of God truly believed in Him, and if they would indeed accept these terms of the Sinaitic Covenant!
2. “That His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin”
The sinful tendency in Israel must be curbed! If a healthy fear of the Lord existed, the children of Israel might not sin wantonly!