The other day someone pointed out an interesting tidbit in Exodus. In Exodus 19, God spoke to Moses and told him to prepare the people for they should consecrate themselves before the Presence of the Lord descended on Mount Sinai. Further more, the people were not allowed to touch any part of the mountain until the horn sounded.
God descended on the mountain covering it with smoke and fire. The horn sounded louder and louder, but the people didn’t approach. God warned Moses to tell the people not to rush lest anyone get hurt. Moses told God that they weren’t going to approach because He commanded them not to. Then God commanded him to leave and return with Aaron, but none of the other priests.
In Exodus 20, Moses and Aaron ascend the mountain and God gives them the 10 commandments. Now God is not being quiet and all of the people can see and hear this going on.
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.
First, the people had the opportunity to go into the Presence of the Lord, but they missed it because they forgot it was permissible after the horn blew. They missed an opportunity because they didn’t pay attention. Next, they choose not to go because they didn’t want to give up the sinful part of them. They would rather hear God’s Word from Moses instead of straight from God. Plus, it raises the question, would God have given the 10 commandments if they would have paid attention the first time and entered into His presence?
Work and other obligations have come up many times and have taken my focus off God. I say to myself that I will get back in the Word soon, but things always came up. I had willingly chosen not to enter into His presence.
Sometimes, I am apprehensive about getting back into the Word. I know that nothing bad is going to happen, but I feel like I disappointed Him and let Him down. To me, it really mirrors a child like experience. When a child makes a mistake, they are often afraid of going to their parents out of misplaced fear. The parent often forgives and the two are restored. I forget God is my parent and I am His child. The only thing that happens is I beat myself up for not talking to Him about it sooner.
We can see how easy it was for the Israelites to retreat from God when they could hear him in the physical realm. How much easier is it for us to withdraw when we only hear him in the spiritual realm?