by Mary Alice McGinnis
On Sunday October 1st, I had a bike accident. I fell onto my right hand and broke 3 bones. This past week while I have been recuperating, with my right hand in a cast, I had a lot of time to do nothing, and a lot of time to reflect. I thought about the things on my “To Do List “ that seemed pointless now.
God sometimes has a way of slowing us down so we can hear Him.
In today's reading, we find the children of Israel just three months after their miraculous delivery from Egypt. They had seen so many of God's miracles already, and yet we find them still complaining and grumbling. Now, they must wait again, for three days.
God brings them to the foot of Mount Sinai to meet with Him. Moses sanctifies the people, washes their clothes, and tells them to keep themselves pure. And yet none of this was enough to allow the people access to the Presence of God Himself.
Can you imagine what that mountain looked like, overcome with fire and thick billowing smoke? Can you imagine the loud claps of thunder, the fearfully piercing lightning strikes, and the earsplitting bellow of the trumpet?
The people were terrified. Yet, they had to be reminded again and again not to come into the presence of this Holy God on that mountain.
This unholy, rebellious people could not come into the presence of God without serious consequences.
How often do we brush off our offenses toward God and toward other people as minor?
How quick are we to minimize the things we've done or left undone? How often do we brush off our sins as minor mistakes rather than serious offenses that they are? Where have I found myself grumbling against God instead of being grateful?
Hebrews 12, gives us another perspective of this story:
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”
The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24)
At Mount Sinai, Moses was the mediator for Israel at that moment. But at Mount Zion (Jerusalem) Jesus was placed on a cross and into a tomb for three days. Jesus is our mediator for all ages to come.
Mount Sinai is marked with fear and terror. Mount Zion is where Jesus poured out his love for the entire world.
Mount Sinai was all about the law. The people could not stand in the Lord's presence. At Mount Zion, Jesus paid the price for our redemption. We are now invited into fellowship with God forever.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being my mediator. Thank you that I no longer need to fear the presence of God, but that I can stand before Him pure and blameless because you have washed me clean.