Afraid of God’s Presence?

April 25, 2018

I heard years ago that the Ten Commandments are all about relationship. If you look at them it holds true. The first half is all about our relationship with God. The second half is all about our relationship with one another which then can relate to how we relate or perceive our God. The actual commandments is not the point I wish to make in this writing. It is what is shown in the Bible after.

Exodus 20:18-21 – Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” 20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

The title of this passage is “The People Afraid of God’s Presence” in the NKJV on biblegateway.com. Look at what the people actually said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” I am sure I am not the only one who has read this entire chapter multiple times but I missed this connection before. The other important thing I noted from the above passage is that it says the people stood “afar off”.

There is a legitimacy of the fear of the people. With all the smoke, lightning, thundering, etc., it probably seemed like utter destruction and chaos to the people. Yet throughout the Bible we see God showing up in ways like this.

Why am I pointing this out? It is very important we establish our own personal relationship with the God-Head so that when His Presence does show we are not standing “afar off”. It is very important we establish our own personal relationship with the God-Head so we can commune/communicate with Him. Once we establish our personal relationship with the God-Head and continue to develop it, we can then come to know and understand our individual purposes. Once this journey begins we have an easier time of seeing pass the many veils that try to keep our spiritual vision clouded. Will we be one that draws near to the awesome fearfulness that is the beginning of Wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10)? Or will we be one that stands afar off and waits for another to tell us what God has said? This is an ok thing for those that have no idea where to begin. However, at some point we need to stretch towards God and not solely rely on another’s relationship with Him. It is a process and one that will go through many ups and downs. The end result is well worth it. The strength that comes from learning and getting to know God is much more freeing than the doubt that can come when we are unsure about our place, purpose, or identity.

Alicia R. Shipe

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