Friday, August 08, 2014

One Reason There’s No More ‘Mount Sinai’ Experiences Anymore -- Exodus 20:18


“And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.”
 
God had just finished handing down The Ten Commandments to the people of Israel gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai.  [Note: There is still some question as to whether or not the people at the foot of the mountain could hear God give the commandments.  It is possible from the reading of the text to say only Moses and Aaron were able to do so.  But it is also possible to believe that when Exodus chapter 20 starts, with God speaking, all could hear Him.  There is no linguistic link to believing those words were uttered only to Moses and Aaron.  What matters, though, is that He did utter these commandments either to them directly or for their sake.]
And not only did He utter the commandments (I believe) to them, but He did it in the midst of the most spectacular heavenly fireworks display we can imagine, complete with thunder, lightning flashes, trumpet sound, and a smoking mountain, to boot.
Imagine yourself in that very situation looking up the mountain, having listened to all that God had to say or knowing at least that He was speaking to Moses and Aaron, and then suddenly silence.  How would you react?
The Bible says the people were trembling motionless at a distance.  We could say they were visibly shaken.  No one spoke.  No one knew what to expect next or what to do.  The almighty God had been among them yet maintained His majestic omnipotence and glory.  The people knew they had experienced an earth-shattering occurrence – God was among them and spoke to them.
There are those that say that God does not visit us or speak to us in the same way any more (or should I say, these days).  But here is what I know.  My Bible tells me God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He never changes.  Why would He stop visiting or speaking to us the way He did for Moses and Aaron and the children of Israel? If so, there is a reason for it and it does not have to do with Him.  I also know that God does not push His way into our lives.  So, if He is not speaking to us or visiting us collectively as He did back on Mount Sinai it is because He knows we would not listen; we would not even hear Him.   (Just over two thousand years ago, we did not listen to His Only Begotten Son who lived among us and performed incredible miracles.  Why would we listen to Him now?)  We may not even be amazed at His startling heavenly display of lights from flashing lightening – after all, we are no longer awestruck with fireworks, Disney World extravaganzas, Olympic Games opening or closing day ceremonies, or even the Northern Lights that He Himself created for us.  And as far as the noise of thunder and lightning goes, well, our ears have been deafened by the Rock Bands of our age.  And even if He were to get our attention, He knows the chances of us being visibly shaken or trembling, are slim.  There is nothing that can easily faze us nowadays.  We’ve seen it all on television thanks to Hollywood.  So God chooses instead to reach us individually, using His still, small voice, these days.  And it is still and small for a reason.  Not because He cannot repeat and excel His performance on Mount Sinai when anyone who was making any kind of noise immediately became quiet when God spoke, but because these days in order for us to hear Him, it is us who first have to become quiet and then invite Him to do direct us.
God has not changed.  He still very much wants to communicate with His people.  But I am sure He is tired and perhaps saddened of being ‘unheard’, so He changed His approach – and He did it because He loves us.  He is desperately trying to reach out to us, if we would only hear Him.
And while God does not give us ‘Mount Sinai’ experiences now, He still communicates to His people individually and sometimes in smaller groups that are seeking Him in unison.  But what has not changed at all is the fact that He still watches for our reaction to His communication.  Are we still awestruck?  Do we tremble at the fact that God has spoken to us directly and been present with us in a very real sense?  Are we silent with godly fear after He has spoken to us?  Were we silent enough to hear Him in the first place?
If you and I are missing out on communications from God, it is not because He has gone off the air.  No, it is because we do not expect it, we do not prepare for it, we do not seek it.  We’re too busy listening to other frequencies.  And when His message tries to break through the plethora of competitive airwaves, we miss it.
Recently I was challenged by something I read to do just that – to expect God to speak with me after I have sincerely sought Him and prepared myself for His doing so.  It occurred to me that I spend a lot of time in my car driving almost daily and as a big fan of keeping up with world news, my car radio tuner is set to one of my favorite networks on my Sirius radio all the time.  It struck me that a) some of this time could be well spent hearing from God, and b) that God may not want to compete with world-famous network personalities – not that He couldn’t, mind you.  So, I started leaving my car radio off each day until after my first full stop.  And no, I do not mean for a stop sign or a red light.  To qualify, the stop would require me to turn the engine off and get out of the car.  During those times in the last few weeks, God has spoken to me often and clearly as I offer to Him exclusively an average of 30 to 40 minutes each morning on my way to a client’s place.  And if one day, I get in my car again to take a longer trip – then I expect to sit quietly before Him for a long session.  Just God and me.
I encourage you identify what is blocking God’s communication with you in your life and to remove those obstacles if you are seriously seeking Him and His direction for you.  Then wait to tremble in awe before your God.  The children of Israel and many others throughout history to this very day will tell you it is well worth it.
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