December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.’ Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.”—Exodus 19:14–19 (NKJV)
Can you imagine how you’d react if you were in God’s physical presence? We know He’s omnipresent, which means He’s present everywhere at the same time, and He’s the only one that has that attribute. But knowing you could approach a physical place and audibly hear from Him, can you imagine that?
God is holy, which biblically speaking means to be set apart. It also means to be perfect, undefiled, unpolluted, and pure. God is the only One that is absolutely holy, we are not. That’s why we read that God asked the people to wash their clothes and not come near their wives as a way of preparation (Exodus 19:10, 15) for the incredibly special moment of God appearing to Israel in such an amazing way. And even still they couldn’t go up the mountain or touch its base, for they would be put to death. So, God was also giving them guidance for their own protection.
This may have seemed harsh, but God, being perfectly holy and pure, He Himself cannot be polluted. We as humans need to be given boundaries to help us with our obedience. As one commentator puts it, “God wanted the people to demonstrate their desire for purity by putting on clean clothes and restraining desires, even legitimate desires.” We should have a healthy, reverential-type of fear of the Lord. As Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV) states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
What an amazing God we have that He, being holy, would take the time to talk to His people and make covenant promises with them, even giving them guidance for their daily living. And in our day and age, we can have quick access to these promises through picking up a physical Bible or in seconds on our electronic devices! He is His Word, and His Word displays His love for His people from beginning to end. We are missing out on the most amazing relationship we will ever have if we don’t get to know Him ourselves through His Word.
Right now, we must walk by faith and not by sight (1 Corinthians 5:7), but as believers and followers of Jesus, we’re promised that one day we, too, will be in His physical presence. I’m in awe even at the thought of that—I can’t imagine what that moment will actually be like! It’s so beautiful beyond words that He would send His own Son to pay the price for our sin, that we may be able to one day be in His presence again! May God be praised!
Pause: Why do we sometimes find the possibility of holiness so hard to believe?
Practice: God knew we would struggle in our pursuit of holiness and righteousness, so He gave us help! Read Philippians 2:12–13 and John 16:7–14 to find out more.
Pray: Dear Lord, I come in awe of who You say You are, but I confess I’m not holy. Thank You for making a way for me to be in Your presence one day. I pray You help me today in my pursuit of holiness and righteousness. Amen
Mirely Maldonado has been part of the Calvary Chapel family since 2013 and now serves as staff in the Events Department. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Film & Digital Video Production and has taught the Bible at Bible Study Fellowship for six years. She treasures good conversation, enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, and loves reading.