Reverence & Awe
…Let us offer to God
with reverence and awe,
for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29, esv
The God of Mount Sinai and the God of Mount Zion are the same God.
Regard or treat with deep respect.
What is this blog about?
In Exodus 19, as I Am was preparing His people to meet Him on Mount Sinai, He starts with “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” As the chapter progresses, His communication with them expands, increases intensity, and crescendos more and more… and more and more and more… there is fire, wind, thunder, lightning, earthquakes…. This continues all the way through the delivery of the Ten Commandments in chapter 20. It was an experience involving all five senses and they utterly quaked with fear. By the time He finishes giving those commandments, in verse 19 of chapter 20, they begged Him to stop because it was so terrifying and they truly believed they would die if He continued. In the very next verse, verse 20, Moses gives them insight as to why I Am did this. He said, “Don’t be afraid. God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of Him will keep you from sinning!”
Friends, even as New Covenant believers, this story is so very instructive for us. So often we treat God the Son, Jesus, as our buddy, our sidekick even, tagging along with us in case we get in a pinch. This is not ok! We forget that He is GOD. He is El-Elyon, the King Of The Universe, the Sustainer Of All Things…
The last verse in Hebrews 12 (see below) says that our God is a devouring fire. And, Hebrews 13:8, says that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. This means that God is STILL a devouring fire. Friends, we must remember that the God of Mount Sinai and the God of Mount Zion are the very same God. When the Apostle John saw God the Son, Jesus, in Revelation, chapter 1:17 says he fell down at His feet as though dead. It is my firm belief that we, His followers, must maintain a posture of reverence and awe at all times, including the times we turn to Jesus for comfort and encouragement. For indeed, He has described Himself in Matthew 11:29 as being “gentle and lowly in heart.”
This dichotomy, as Hebrews 12 discusses: the God of Mount Sinai and the God of Mount Zion… causes me to “fall at His feet as though dead.” I will never fully understand the contrast while I yet walk this terrestrial ball. My intention with this tiny, humble corner of the interwebs is actually to bask in this astounding reality: that the God of Mount Sinai, the God of Mount Zion, and the Jesus who is gentle and lowly, are One.
I welcome you to join me.
You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.*
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*Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.