Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid;
for God has come in order to test you,
and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you,
so that you may not sin.”
God has just delivered the last of His Ten Commandments before the children of Israel. We read in Exodus 20:18 that all people saw and perceived the thunder and lightning and the sound of the trumpet through which God spoke. They saw and were afraid and stood at a distance.
I love thunderstorms. I love them because of verses like these in the Scriptures. So many times we read of God being in the midst of the storm. We read how thunder and lightning surround His throne.
Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder.
And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,
which are the seven Spirits of God;
So when thunder and lightning are surrounding me I worship my God and I give Him praise because in the midst of the storm I know He is near.
Sin entered the entire world, the whole earth is in rebellion to Him… why wouldn’t the earth quake in fear and the atmosphere rage in rebellion when it’s Holy Creator has entered its presence.
It’s opposites in the mix, sin and holiness, like cold and hot air create a tornado or hurricane, when sin and holiness combine an unforgettable event is about to happen.
This powerful presence of God before the children of Israel was to be a reminder to them of God’s authority. It was to be a reminder of the day they heard these commands. The reminder was for those days when life seemed ordinary. Those days when God’s blessings upon His people turn into a curse because life gets so easy that they actually begin to think they have what they have because of themselves, not because of their God.
This thunderous trumpet sounding of God was to help remind the children of Israel that their God was a holy God. That their God was a God of His word. That their God was not wood or stone, but alive and active. This display was to command their attention and was to stamp their memory so that they would share it with their children, with their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren, for generations still to come.
This was to test them, so that the fear of God would remain with them, so that they may not sin.
We live in a day where many have forgotten the fear of God. Many in the church, have chosen to ignore to teach about the God of wrath and have chosen to only pull the attributes of God out of Scripture that make people feel good. You know the ones that don’t scare them or make them nervous or make them question His goodness.
God is not afraid of our questions… when Christ came He tried to get people to ask them.
It was the fear of the wrath of my earthly father that kept me in check just as much as it was the love I had for him, and the love that I knew he had for me, that kept me from wanting to disappoint him. I knew both sides of my father. My father used to say that God gave him two hands for a reason, he loved me with one and disciplined me with the other. However the truth is that he loved me with both at the same time.
MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.
Our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love and because He does He wants us to live. Therefore, since the wages of sin is death… He reminds of His wrath and of His power and of His disciplining hand so that the fear of Him would remain with us so that we may not sin… because sin leads to death.
Remembering the sound of His voice as a thunderous trumpet would hopefully make the children of Israel think twice before they indulged in some fleshly foolishness. Likewise, remembering the wrath of God that was poured out on Christ on behalf of our sin should make us think twice before we indulge in fleshly foolishness of our own.
Let me never forget that You are Jehovah-makkeh, the LORD that Smiteth. You love me, I in no way can deny that. You demonstrated how very much You loved me when Christ died on the cross for my sins (Romans 5:8). May I never be guilty of mistaking Your kindness for weakness or Your grace for ignorance. May I live each day working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) so that I might not sin against You.
My Jesus, it’s in Your name I pray,