From the foot of the cross to the top of the mountain (Travelling Through God’s Word: Exodus, Part Four)

Exodus

“Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.”

As we stand at the foot of the mountain, we are filled with fear. We are deeply aware of God’s holiness, and we are deepy aware of our sin.

“The Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”

This is the beginning of something encouraging. God is calling Moses to the top of the mountain. He is calling us to “the top of the mountain.” At “the top of the mountain”, God shows us his holiness, and he shows us our sin. Is there a way for us to get to “the top of the mountain”? How are we to get to “the top of the mountain”? There is a way to “the top of the mountain.” It is by the grace of God. He leads us to the foot of the cross. There, we see love. We receive God’s love, and we receive the forgiveness of our sins: “God shows his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We do not raise ourselves up to “the top of the mountain.” We are taken to the foot of the cross. From there, we are raised up to “the top of the mountain.” We are raised beyond the top of Mount Sinai. We are raised up to the glory of our heavenly and eternal home. Our sin would keep us out of heaven, but our Saviour has taken our sin and he leads us on to heaven, the place where the glory of God’s love shines with everlasting brightness.

As we think of what Jesus, our Saviour, we look back to Mount Sinai, and we wonder if there is, at that mountain, something more than a revelation of God’s holiness and a revelation of our sinfulness. There is. There’s a glimpse of God’s love for Israel, and there’s a glimpse of God’s love for us.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

In “the ten commandments”, this is the first thing that God says to his people. Here, we see something more than God’s holiness and our sin. Here, we see how much the Lord loved the people of Israel, and we see what a great thing he had done for them. This may not be the full revelation of God’s love, so wonderfully revealed to us at the cross of Christ, but it gives us encouragement to believe that God has more to say to us about his love for us. When we read the ten commandments, we must make sure that we don’t miss this: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” At Mount Sinai, God did not begin by saying, “This is what you must do for me.” He began by saying, “This is what I have done for you.” What we do for the Lord cannot even begin to compare with what he has done for us. What he has done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever hope to do for him. May these opening words of “the ten commandments” point us forward to something that is very precious and very wonderful: “the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20}. Before our love for our Saviour, there is his love for us. Our love for him is always prompted by his love for us. It is always inspired by his love for us.

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