Holy fear and clear vision
Scripture reading for January 24: Exodus 19-20
God carried the whole nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt with a display of His power in the plagues. The Israelites were protected and experienced God’s deliverance as they walked out of Egypt, laden down with silver and gold and other valuables. God’s presence guided them in the Pillar of Fire and in the Cloud. God was in their midst and provided miraculously for them again and again in sending the manna and quail and then providing water from the Rock. They knew God’s mercy, but lacked a healthy fear or respect. This holy fear or respect is a foundation for wisdom and life. (Proverbs 1:7)
To help His people with holy fear, God led the children of Israel to Mt. Sinai where He gave instructions through Moses to the people. They were to refrain from sexual relations, wash their clothes, and consecrate themselves to hear God’s voice speaking to them. (Exodus 19:10-16) On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud, and a loud trumpet blast. When the trumpet sounded, everyone in the camp trembled with fear! (Exodus 20:18-19) God’s voice speaking His law revealed His holiness.
God’s stated purpose was to instill in them the “fear of God to keep them from sinning.” (Exodus 20:20) You might say He wanted them to have ’20:20 vision’ and understanding that sin brings death. The ten commandments that Moses received revealed sin in the heart of man. They are the mirror of our soul showing our need of mercy and forgiveness. They drive us to God for mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is only by grace that we are saved from the penalty of sin. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
How has God instilled a holy respect in your life? Would you say that your vision of God is more of love and mercy that awe and respect? How does a healthy respect for the Lord keep us from sinning?
“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” Exodus 20:20