In Exodus 19, God conveyed to his people through Moses a renewal of his covenant of blessing toward them. God reminded them of how he delivered them out of Egypt and reminded them that if they kept his commandments, that they would be his treasured possession. God instructed Moses to tell the people to consecrate themselves as he wanted to meet with them and allow them to hear him speak. All the while, God spoke only to Moses, but on this occasion, God desired to meet with his people. God manifested himself through a thick cloud with lightning, thunder and the blast of a trumpet.
The people were so afraid and terrified that they stood far away, “and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die”” (Exodus 20:19). Moses was hearing the same thing that the people were hearing, yet he was not afraid to walk into the cloud and continue to hear God speak. Moses went between God and the people to convey what God had to say and to renew his covenant with them. Moses later went back into the cloud and continued to communicate with God. He remained in the mountain for forty days while God gave him the laws and covenants for the people to obey.
The people became impatient as they waited for Moses and demanded that Aaron make them a God to go before them. Aaron heeded their request and made for them a golden calf out of their gold jewellery. “And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves” (Exodus 32:7). I struggle to wrap my head around how a people, who had just witnessed the God of heaven speak through a cloud with lightning and thunder, could turn around and build a golden calf for themselves to worship. I believe that because they only experienced God through Moses, his absence meant that they felt disconnected from God.
They had the opportunity to hear God speak but begged Moses to ask God to never speak to them again. Are we a people who would rather have someone hear from God for us, rather than to hear from him for ourselves? The renting of the veil after Jesus’s crucifixion signalled our ability to go to God for ourselves. Do people still rely on Pastors, Teachers and Prophets to be their mediators before God? What are the excuses that we have made up that keep us from having intimacy with God? Like the Israelites, we have made idols for ourselves out of the material things that we can see. Many people use excuses that their Pastor isn’t doing enough to help them stay close to God.
Saints we have to use prayer, the word and faith to create a path to God for ourselves. Stop relying on others to communicate with God on your behalf. God is waiting for you to make your requests known to him and he longs for us to spend the time in his presence where he can communicate with him. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).