When God descended down upon Mount Sinai to deliver the commandments to Moses it was a dreadful sight. It was a horrifying sight, one very difficult to conceive of much less jot down and document in writing.
But the Bible tells us that that Mount Sinai was, “altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice” (Exodus 19:18-19).
Immediately after God delivered His 10 commandments to Moses there was an equaling horrifying sight.
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:18-19)
In short, God made “bookends” of a very visual, very dramatic and very horrifying sight around His 10 commandments. This was done in part to show His power and supremacy but more to accentuate the power and supremacy of the law He just delivered to Moses.
Now after all of this, after all of these fantastic sights and sounds the Israelites just witnessed and watching God’s law delivered to Moses, the very first thing Moses said to the people was, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exodus 20:20).
Don’t be afraid? Really!?
Believe it or not, one reason why some folks avoid God is due to the fear of Him. Not only the fear of His power but the fear of the unknown, of not knowing Him and who God is. We avoid what we are afraid of. We don’t walk the street where the mean dog is loose. We don’t drive through high crime neighborhoods. We avoid strangers and strange situations.
The other reason why Moses told the Israelites to not be afraid was the law itself. Man knows right from wrong. It is inherent in him because he is a creation and child of God. No matter how wild and carnal he was living and worshipping false gods that enabled him and justified his actions, carnal man really knew all along that he was sinning. This is why carnal man is said to rebel against God. You can only rebel against something you know. Rebellion is an anti-movement against something known to be true or extant. To rebel is an intentional movement against what is established. Sin is rebellion, the intentional act against righteousness and God. The Israelites were afraid not only of the great physical power of God and His ability to move mountains, but they were even more afraid of His spiritual power and supremacy to be able to know and affect all seen and unseen, physical and spiritual.
Probably the most frightening thing of the entire event was when Moses said, “for God is come to prove you”.
This supports the idea that the Israelites knew sin and knew righteousness and knew they had chosen the former over the latter.
We must understand that everyone is proved by God. As it was then, as it is now and as it was during every time in between; God has always proved, tried and tested every single one of His children.
Jesus Christ made it clear, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Corinthians 3:10-20).
We are never to be afraid of God or the trial and/or tribulations that we will (underscore “will”) experience during our lifetime.
“Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not”
God as a refiner came and made His perfect presence, omnipotence and preeminence known to man. God made known his perfect way of holiness and righteousness. He also made known His Son and Savior and His word.. All of which are for our refinement and for our perfecting. And where we fail we have Jesus Christ as our covering; our perfect way through Him to the Father.
In its most basic meaning, to sin is to miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt. To sin is to trip up and fall out “the way”, the path of righteousness. It is to miss the mark of the high calling of God as a child of God.
During the time of Moses God delivered a plan for man to not sin. It was flawed in that man could not live up to that standard shown him due to the sin inherent within him. That’s why God did it. So man could see he couldn’t do it by himself all alone. Man needed help; he always has and always will.
Jesus lived under the Law of Moses perfectly. He took on the sin of the world for all of mankind to save him. When we accept Christ as our Savior we accept Him and His ways. He not only takes us from refinement to restoration but eventually to completion and perfection.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus saves. With Him we have nothing to fear.
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