In the previous post, Running to Moses Part 1, I have used Scripture to show that God forms personal relationships with men. The men He chose were not shown in Scripture to be extraordinary or holy in and of themselves. Just obedient and faithful. At least up to a certain point. Adam took of the forbidden fruit just as Eve. Abraham attempted with Sarah to accomplish God’s will on their own. Noah got drunk and passed out naked and one of his sons was tempted into an abominable sin. Yet God chose these men for a purpose to prepare the way for the Christ. For even they were in need of a Savior. And they had faith.
But now, as the Spirit leads me I want to point to the example of Moses and how God had high hopes for the nation of Israel. For we see in the very story of the Exodus that God was trying to build a relationship with all of the people. We see this in the way God was there when He brought the plagues upon Israel. We see this in how God led the nation across the Red Sea, as well in how God was showing His Holiness and Righteousness.
Yes Moses was chosen by God to be the focal point to pry His people away from the Egyptians. And each step of the way after they had crossed the Red Sea, the complained against Moses. And then Moses would seek out the Lord. But do you think God’s purpose was for Moses to remain the focal point and leader of the nation? I think not. For God was there with them. God was there in the whirl wind by day and the column of fire by night. He provided manna from Heaven, water from the land. He guided them each day through Moses. But let us examine a portion of Scripture that I believe God revealed that He wanted to be closer to His people that they might serve Him more directly.
In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain. 3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
So the next verses say that Moses brought these words to all of Israel. Their response?
“All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
Sounds good right? Let’s read on. God gave Moses specific instructions on how the people should prepare for the Lord and where to go and not concerning the mountain. Which the people did. But yet here are the following verses of what happened on the third day.
16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20 Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” 23 But Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 Then the Lord said to him, “Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest He break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. (Ex 19:16-25)
Now we move on to chapter 20 where God gives the Ten Commandments. But the verses immediately following I think are pivotal in what happened there at Mt. Sinai. For Scripture records the peoples response this way:
18 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. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
20 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.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
Amazing! At that very moment through God’s Glory He was calling His people unto Him. But the people refused and were to afraid to draw near a God who had just saved them from Egypt. A God who was providing for them and showing them how to walk before Him. But they would not. So it was that the next chapters are filled with laws concerning how to deal with many circumstances as well as the religious artifacts, duties and practices they were to perform. For if the people would not draw near to God in the manner He was calling them then they would need laws to follow because of sin.
Truly brethren, the nation had an example in Moses. And the example was in Christ Jesus as well. For as the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. Why? Because that’s where Life was. Not death as the people feared. For this was the beginning of Israel’s rebellion. Not when they made the golden calf to worship.
For in the book of Hebrews it is perfectly summed up.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
It is unbelief that separated the nation of Israel from God in the rebellion. And it is unbelief that separates us today from hearing God in our lives. For we have placed men ahead of the God and Christ because of the traditions of men. These traditions place pastors, priests and popes to be the mediator between men and God. But that is not who God is and not how He has called His disciples in Christ Jesus. Not according to the Old Testament practice of following a Moses, but the “New” practice of following God through Christ. Just as God called Israel of old to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, the new testament says this:
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev. 1:5-6)
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9-10)
It is our Lord and Savior by His blood that we are now in His kingdom to serve Him as priests. But we can only do that through faith. Brethren, stay tuned for part 3 where I will through Scripture point the way to Christ to serve Him apart from the traditions of man.