The Lord called Moses up Mount Sanai to establish His covenant with the Israelites. Moses said he was, “full of fear and trembling” (Heb. 12:21). When the Lord came down on the Mountain top it was “in smoke, because He descended on it in fire… and the whole mountain quaked violently.” The Lord called Moses to the top of the Mountain where He was, and told the Israelites to stay away or else He would break out on them… because God is raw Righteousness and burning Holiness and not all can approach Him and live. Years before this, Moses was being prepared to go up the Mountain, Hebrews 11:24-27.
On the mountain top the Lord showed Moses His ways and gave Him the Ten Commandments written on tablets. We now, in this new covenant, ascend the Mountain of God (Zion), the city of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22-24). As we ascend this mountain the fear of the Lord increases in our hearts and the glory of the Lord is revealed more and more. As we ascend God reveals more of His ways to us, and what once was written on tablets of stone God now writes His laws on our mind and the tablet of our hearts (Heb. 8:10).
Paul declares in 2 Cor. 3:7-11, that the glory of this new covenant is greater than the last. We see the visible things shook and were on fire at the appearing of the Lord, how much more we should tremble as we approach Mount Zion, where God dwells. And as we continue growing closer to God, there is a much greater increase of fear and trembling, and with good reason. When we get closer to our Lord we take on more knowledge of His ways and, “if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment…” (Heb. 10:26-27). And under the old covenant you died if you didn’t keep the Law of Moses. “How much more severer the punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under the foot the Son of God… and has insulted the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29). The fear of the Lord is a gift to guard you from falling.
When the glory of the Lord was revealed to the Israelites, they all pushed away and told Moses to go up the Mountain and get the word of God for them. Being afraid of God is different that the fear of the Lord. The Israelites were afraid of God. If you fear the Lord you press into Him as Moses did, knowing that all you have is Him and that every good and perfect thing comes from Him… even if it’s uncomfortable. To fear Him is to love Him. As we move from glory to glory, ascending the Mountain and moving through the fire, we are being transformed into the same image of this glory we are beholding (2 Cor. 3:18).
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