Reverential fear of God
All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance. “You speak to us, and we will listen,” they said to Moses, “but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses responded to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.” Exodus 20:18-20 After the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, God gave them the commandments that will govern their lives. Then they “witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke.” They realized that they were in the presence of God and “they stood at a distance.” The presence of God was intimidating even among His own people. They had witnessed while in Egypt through the plagues what God could do. While they were escaping from the pursuing Egyptians led by Pharaoh, they had seen the power of God demonstrated over nature. They realized God’s holiness and their sinfulness. This was why they prefer Moses to mediate for them. Christ’s coming in this world provided the people a glimpse of the glory of God in human form. He arrived in this world in a gentle inviting manner. His coming proved that God wanted people to realize their need of Him and that through Jesus they can gain access to God. “For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). The Israelites were fearful that the presence of sin in their lives could lead to their destruction. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, God’s wrath over sin was poured out. With His death, now man has an access to God. Knowing Christ as Lord and Savior gave man the access to be in the presence of God. God sees the righteousness of Christ no longer the sinfulness of man. Yet those who have placed their trust in Christ should not take for granted what He had accomplished on their behalf. Moses told the Israelites that the knowledge of the fear of God will keep them from sinning (v. 20). It is always in the believers’ advantage to have that reverential fear to God because this will keep them away from continually living in sin. Once we have made a commitment to God, let us continually draw ourselves to Him by listening to His word so that we will continue to grow in our fear of Him. To fear God will keep us obedient to His will. “Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5).
Noel De Guzman