Israel gathers at the MOUNTAIN to worship
It had been about two months since Moses left Egypt with the nation of almost 2 million people. They had gone nearly 200 miles and were nearing Mount Sinai where they were originally called to worship God (Ex. 3:12). Though they had seen the God of their forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) do miracles to punish Egypt for enslaving them, they still did not know Him personally. God has no grandchildren (Rom. 14:11, 12). Knowing about God and knowing God are two different things! After following God’s direction through Moses, God brought them to a place of corporate worship apart from any distractions. Though people must make individual choices to follow God, believers are commanded to seek out corporate times of prayer, teaching, and fellowship (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:24, 25). A distracted mind leads to a disinterested heart leading to a disjointed connection with God. Worship takes focus. Focus takes desire and energy. Worship is a focused moment committed to giving someone or something the greatest worth a person can (Mark 12:30). Wherever God is, is holy. God’s presence transforms the mundane and profane into miraculous and pristine!
Israel encounters their GOD to worship
Upon reaching the mountain, God gives Moses a bilateral agreement that if Israel obeys His commands they will be a ‘special treasure’, ‘kingdom of priests’ and a ‘holy nation’. When God changes lives He expects believers to shine and draw others out of darkness (Matt. 5:14). Like a wedding or event where participants prepare themselves for the occasion, God prepares His people to meet Him. God tells Moses to sanctify (Heb. qadash, ‘to make clean/set apart as holy’) the people. Two conditions in the national sanctification process were the washing of clothes representing a cleaning from their former life in Egypt and abstaining from sexual contact to show self-restraint. God is greater than any personal past or personal desire and special moments with God often require special action (1 Cor. 7:5). God then appears in smoke, lightening, an earthquake, a trumpet blast and His own thunderous voice to talk with Moses. The people tremble at the power and presence of God and those who disobeyed would die! Sanctification is a reminder for believers of the seriousness of Who they worship and why!