On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Exodus 19:16-20 ESV
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and 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 ESV
Early in the history of the United States there was a rebellion by some farmers in the state of Pennsylvania. They were unhappy about the high taxes the U. S. government put on the whiskey they were producing. The farmers burned down a tax inspector’s house, and the government was afraid things would become even more violent. President George Washington sent some troops to stop this. Two of the farmers who had been leaders in the rebellion were condemned to death by hanging, but George Washington pardoned them. They didn’t get the death sentence the law required them to have.
God’s law and holiness required that all the people of Israel stay away from his holy mountain when he came down in thunder and lightning and a thick cloud. But Moses went to the top of the mountain after God called him up. God had chosen Moses to be the leader of his people and to speak the word of God to them. Moses was a sinner just as all the other people were, but Moses was not put to death for coming into the presence of God, even though that’s what the law required. God gave him grace to allow him to come up the mountain and into his presence.
When God came into his world in Jesus, people who were with Jesus didn’t realize that they were in the presence of God. Jesus hid God’s glory in his human nature to show the love and grace God has for all people. He died on the cross to win forgiveness for all our sins. God gives us grace to come into his presence through Jesus. We don’t have to worry about being punished for our sins as we deserve. Jesus took on our punishment, and God sees us as perfect and holy because of Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus so that we can come to you and know that you forgive us and love us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.