The author of Hebrews draws his audience’s attention to the time when God met Moses on Mount Sinai. Exodus 19.10-25 describes what Hebrews allude to in chapter 12.18-21.
You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest,
And the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them.
(For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.”
Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”)
When Rudy Ross and I produced a video on this passage, I expected Rudy to talk about the Exodus 19 passage. Instead, he referred to the call of Moses in Exodus 3.
You will remember the story.
As Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep, “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.
“Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight and see why the bush is not burned up'” (Exodus 3.2-3).
God spoke from the flaming thorn bush, encountered Moses, and gave him the assignment to free his people from slavery in Egypt.
Rudy doesn’t want us to miss the thorns that crowned Jesus’ head during his crucifixion. Like the burning thorn bush, God showed his presence through his Son, who was adorned with thorns.
Moses was tending Jethro’s sheep because he was a fugitive who was wanted for murder in Egypt. His fellow Hebrews had been in slavery for 400 years.
When Jesus walked the paths of Galilee, Israel was a vassal state of Rome, the ruling class was corrupt, and peasants faced starvation.
However, just as the Savior with a crown of thorns on his head brought the presence of God to humans, so did Jesus as he traveled the countryside.
The poor, demonized, lepers and broken humans experienced the presence of God just as did Moses at the burning bush.
God is not absent from the very problematic world we live in. He wants to be known and to help us live in these troubled times.
Access to God
Moses was told to not approach the burning bush, but to worship God and accept his call to serve (Exodus 3.5-10).
The people of God were told to keep their distance from Mount Sinai, as Moses received the Ten Commandments at its summit (Exodus 19).
Because Jesus is our Great High Priest, who sacrificed his blood for us on the cross, we have access to God.
With lofty words, Hebrews describes this awesome privilege.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
“And to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
“And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12.22-24).
What will we do with such an awesome opportunity?
We live in a troubled world, but we can experience God just as the heroes of the faith have. Let’s take advantage of that gift.
Because of crucifixion, resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit, we have the opportunity to draw near to God. Let’s not fail to draw near to him in worship, prayer, and obedience.
Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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