Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”-Exodus 20:20
Today’s post marks the completion of my treatment of the 10 Words of God, and boy what a roller coaster ride that was!
I don’t know about you but I definitely experienced a couple of major paradigm shifts in my thinking while closely studying these commandments.
While much of what I studied reinforced what I already knew or thought to be true, many other assumptions were completely overturned.
That’s what happens when you take the time to sit down and read the Word of God for yourself, instead of relying on church doctrine or what is force fed to you from the pulpit.
Well, it had been a tremendous day for Israel!
The people had not only heard YHVH speak to them in His own thunderous voice, but He had manifested Himself via an awesome display of violent thunder and lightning.
The people were literally trembling with fear.
In fact, they were so afraid that they asked Moses to speak to God for them.
This raises the question of why would YHVH put on such a terrifying display of power and glory?
Did He want the people to be afraid of Him?
Well, Moses answers that question in verse 20 and he starts by telling the people to “not be afraid”.
He gives three reasons why the Lord is appearing to the people in such an intimidating and awesome display of power and might.
First, it was “to test” or to put Israel “on trial”.
The Hebrew word for trial here is NACAH.
However, it does not mean that the Lord is gleefully throwing challenges or obstacles into lives, seeing how we handle them, and then depending on how we do, judging us.
It is more about the Lord gradually teaching us His justice system and how to walk in His ways.
We’re talking about the growth process every believer must go through AFTER salvation.
Second, God is displaying His might because the people should have a healthy fear of God.
There should be a solemn reverence for His Holiness and of course confidence in God’s power to help us in times of need.
Again, I’m talking about a “healthy” fear here.
Those that truly love God and earnestly seek to do His will never need to have a horror of God.
Third, the Lord through the 10 Words and the 600 or so “commands” to follow is demonstrating to the people what His holy nature is all about.
Through the Lord’s Torah or His “teaching”, Israel will now be able to develop their own unique philosophy, culture and religious doctrines SEPARATE from their pagan neighbors.
But more importantly, Israel will also learn how to live a life that does NOT offend or transgress against the Holy One.
They will learn how to walk in obedience to God.
And again, I’m not talking about obeying God’s commands as a means to achieve salvation.
I remind you that Israel has already been saved by faith through grace.
I’m talking about post-salvation obedience here.
Finally, the Lord tells Moses to remind the people of two things.
That it was He Himself that spoke all these words.
And that these words were not just directed to Moses but to ALL the people.
It was done publicly, so there would be no doubt that these Words were from HASHEM.