Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Exodus 19:16-25 (NRSV)
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the LORD had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. When the LORD descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the LORD summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to the LORD to look; otherwise many of them will perish. Even the priests who approach the LORD must consecrate themselves or the LORD will break out against them.” Moses said to the LORD, “The people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and keep it holy.’” The LORD said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you; but do not let either the priests or the people break through to come up to the LORD; otherwise he will break out against them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them.
As I read this scripture, I couldn’t help but think of the praise song “Our God Is an Awesome God.” God is awesome and powerful; we should fear and respect God. I think we are living in a society where the fear of the Lord is deteriorating, which is perhaps causing our reverence for God to fade.
I can remember when my grandmother would shake the preacher’s hand following the worship service and say, “You need to preach about hell more often.” My grandmother was from what I call the “fire and brimstone” era of the church. I think she felt like my generation needed to have a little fear put into us. Looking at much of society today, I am beginning to agree with her.
In the passage today, God wanted to make it clear to the Israelites that they should fear and show reverence for the Lord. May our actions, today and every day, reflect our fear and respect of the Lord. Let us remind our congregations that we should be mindful of God’s power and reverent to God in all things. Although much of what we preach and teach is of heavenly things, let us not forget that there is a hell.
Dear Lord, I give you honor and praise. May I always come before you with reverence and praise. Thank you for sending your Son to die so that I might live and escape the bounds of hell. In your precious name I pray. Amen.
Go with God.