Read Exodus 20:9-24 and Hebrews 12:18-29.

When the Israelites were at Mt Sinai, Moses told them that the Lord would come down from the mountain in the sight of all the people. They were not to draw near: people and animals who touched the mountain were to be stoned or shot with arrows. Moses consecrated the people and they washed their clothes and abstained from marital relations. There was thunder and lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain and a trumpet blast so loud that all the people trembled. Mt Sinai was wrapped in smoke like the smoke of a kiln, and the mountain shook violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. There, God gave the ten commandments. When the people had witnessed the thunder and lighting and smoke and trumpet they were afraid and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “you speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses replied “do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin” (Ex. 20:9-24).

This is not the mountain to which you have come. You have come to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of peace. Here innumerable angels rejoice. Here the children of God, who have been made perfect, assemble. Here Jesus mediates a new covenant in sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Here you must not refuse to listen. If the ancient Israelites didn’t escape after refusing to listen to the external voice, how much less will we escape if we refuse to listen to the still, small voice speaking to us from heaven? Then, the voice shook the earth, but now it quietly shakes earth and heaven. It will remove created things, so that only that which cannot be shaken remains. And the kingdom of heaven, which cannot be shaken, which will endure forever, that kingdom is the inheritance of God’s firstborn children. Therefore worship in reverence and awe.

Our God is a consuming fire.

Therefore listen to his voice. Show hospitality to strangers. Remember those in prison. Be faithful. Keep your lives free from the love of money. Trust in his help. Bear abuse. Praise.

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of and