The Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai on the third month after they had left Egypt. God came down to that mount to covenant with them at that time. That was a covenant that separated them for Himself as a nation of priests unto Him. A covenant that differentiated them from the other nations. But Israel did not get attune with God’s plan and continued aloof from it in spite of all the supernatural signs and wonders they witnessed. To start with, when they were between the Red Sea and the Egyptian’s army, who had come against them, He caused a strong east wind all that night and made the sea dry land; and the waters were divided. When the Egyptians recognized that the Lord God was fighting in favor of Israel, they tried to flee, when the waters closed on them (Exodus 14). Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land, while the Egyptians were taken in and drowned. The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. Arriving at Mount Sinai, Israel did not have a clue of what was going to happen. While they encamped before the mountain, Moses went up to God, and the Lord called him out of the mountain and spoke to him giving him a message to give to the people. It was a covenant He was establishing with them. He said, You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among the above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the Israelites (Exodus 19:1-6). The Lord told Moses to sanctify the people for two days and then wash their clothes and on the third day the nation was to meet Him.
The Shekinah Glory
The Shekinah glory was visible in the Old Testament in the forms of light, fire, and cloud, or in a combination of all three. It is the manifestation of the presence of God. In the Garden, Adam and Eve experienced the Shekinah Glory at the time they heard God’s voice, as He walked in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8a). The Shekinah Glory was visible to Moses in a flame of fire while he was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law. (Exodus 3:1-5). In his journey through the desert to the Promised Land, Moses spent eighty days and nights in the presence of God. The Shekinah Glory led Israel through the desert to the Promised Land by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22).
The greatest manifestation of the Shekinah Glory was visible in Mount Sinai, when the Lord came down upon it on the third day: The third morning there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. When Moses brought the people from the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain, Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, for the Lord descended upon it in fire; its smoke ascended like that of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. As the trumpet blast grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with a voice. The Lord came down upon Mount Sinai to the top of the mountain, and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain and Moses went up (Exodus 19: 16-20). That was the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments.
Confidence That Demands Assurance
(I John 5:14-17)
Confidence is the anchor that leads one to success. The winds of life will not overcome it, because it is based not on the tangible, but on the assurance of one’s belief. Confidence is a result of faith, believing in the unseen, when many cannot see. Confidence demands assurance to sustain it; they walk hand in hand; One cannot be confident without being sure. Paul assured the Philippians His confidence on God’s ability to finish the work He started in them, saying: I am confident of this very thing- that He Who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Messiah YAHSHUA (Phil. 1:6). When God saves the sinner, He starts the work of sanctification, a process before glorification. Confident on God’s work, we Christians are sure in the midst of our trials, that He is performing the work of sanctification, for the Bible tells us that He has given us the Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7b). Paul, in his assurance of faith, suffered much persecution, confidently of God’s plan for his life. Writing to Timothy, he said, for this [Gospel] I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the gentile. And this is why I am suffering as I do. Still, I am not ashamed, for I know Him Whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day (II Tim. 1:11-12). For the believer to have spiritual confidence in the promises of God, and assurance of His love, he must know Him through a relationship with Him.
Moses and Elijah on Mount Sinai and Mount Herman
(Exodus 19; 33; I Kings 19:8-14; Luke 9: 28-33)
Moses, as Israel’s leader to the Promised Land, was a remarkable man. No one that has ever lived, has ever experienced God the way he did. He was not only a leader for the nation Israel, but a prophet, who spoke with God face to face, although he did not see His face. From the signs and wonders seen in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, water coming from the rocks, mana coming from heaven as food for the people while in their journey of forty years through the wilderness, and much more, Moses’ life shines over all others.
As a baby, Moses was taken from the water when his mother tried to hide him in the time of the king’s command to kill all the Jews’ babies to control their population. He was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, who later adopted him. She named him Moses because she said, “I drew him out of the water.” For forty years he lived in the royal palace, however, he preferred to suffer with his brothers, as Hebrews 11:24-25 confirms: By faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter because he preferred to share the oppression and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.
One day, while checking out the slavery condition of his people, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his brothers. He then killed the Egyptian and buried him (Ex. 2). His zeal for the wellbeing of his people was a sign of what he was to become in the future. From that time on, he become a refugee in the land of Median, where he married and worked as a shepherd for his father- in-law. Moses had his first encounter with God at Mount Horeb, or Sinai, the mount of God, forty years after his ordeal that caused him to flee for his life. The Lord God appeared to him in a fire out of the midst of a bush. Curious about what was happening, he turned aside to see why the bush would not burn, when he heard the Lord’s voice saying, do not come near; put your shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground (Ex. 3:2-5). In that encounter, God revealed Himself to Moses as the God of his fathers- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses then hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Ex. 3:6). God spoke to him from the fire saying, come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people…out of Egypt. Moses’ conscious burned with guilt and fear of his past in the presence of that fire that symbolized the unapproachable holiness of God. Mount Sinai, the pivot point of Moses’ life, stood before him with a divine call to redeem his people from bondage.
I Sought a Man Who Should Build the Wall and Stand in the Gap
From the time that God created man, He has not ceased to seek that special person who will build walls and stand in the gap on behalf of a country or people so that He would not destroy them; a man who will stand in the gap for righteousness and justice. The Word of the Lord that came to the prophet Ezekiel while he and the nation of Israel were captives in Babylon were words of judgment against the sins of that nation. Israel laid bare before her Lord and her sins were exposed before Him. God’s love and patience over Israel and all other nations are evident in the length of time He waits before He sends judgment. Meanwhile He seeks intercessors who will stand in the gap in His presence for the land and for its people. He told Ezekiel that He had sought a man among Israel who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Him for the land, that he should not destroy it, but He found none. Therefore, He said, Have I poured out My indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their own way have I repaid upon their own heads, says the Lord God(Ezekiel 22: 30-31).
The Lampstand For the Lord
You are the light of the world; a city situated on a hill cannot be hidden; no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house; Let your light so shine, says the Lord, so that men may see your good works and glorify the heavenly Father; (Matt. 5:14-16).
YAHSHUA told the disciples, You are the light of the world. That means, live truthfully, speak truthfully, and act truthfully. In other words, live in such way that your light will point to God and men’s eyes will be opened to see God in you, and the glory will be given to Him, as a result. In our actions and words, the light in us must reflect the source, not our doings. The fact of the matter is in whatever we say and do there must be the reflection of the LIGHT of His Holy Spirit in us.
The Middle Man
And Israel said to Moses, you speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die… And the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was (Exodus 20:18-24).
When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid themselves from the presence of God, at the sound of His voice while walking through the garden (Gen.3:8). A routine of the day when God would come to commune with them in the cool of the day, became a fearful experience. Peace was replaced by fear and guilt, when they made the decision to believe the serpent, instead. Sin had taken them away from the presence of God and robbed them of their relationship with Him. No longer could they feel comfortable in the presence of the holy God. What was so important to them, they lost in the decision they had made. Now, instead of welcoming God in their midst, they hid from Him as if to tell Him, leave us alone. When Israel experienced the holiness of God marked by thunders, smoking mountain, lightning, they feared Him and begged Moses to speak to them, instead. It had been three months since Israel had left Egypt in a supernatural and powerful way, when God expressed His love, His faithfulness through miracles and signs, when He walked ahead of them providing shelter from the sun and light for the night through a pillar of clouds and fire, when He opened the Red Sea and guided them through it in dry land and at the same time killing their enemies. But seemly, Israel lacked God’s holiness, and in their sinful condition, they acted like Adam and Eve – fearful.
Chosen For Times As These
The life of Joseph is market by salvation of his brothers. When yet young he had dreams that spoke of God’s future calling to be his brothers and the nation of Egypt’s savior in the seven years of famine that was to come. He was mocked and ridiculed by his brothers and rebuked by his father when he revealed his dreams to them, not realizing the tremendous prophecy of their own salvation behind his dreams when his family was going to depend on him for their future survival. Next to the youngest of twelve brothers, Joseph was the favorite of his father, whose mother was Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife. For her he worked fourteen years, when her sister was given him as a wife, instead. Out of hatred for him, his brothers sold him for twenty pieces of silver to Ishmaelite merchants who were passing by. They took him captive to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Though a slave in the eyes of the Egyptians, Joseph was favored of the Lord; He blessed him in all he did, for the master plan God had for him was to be fulfilled many years later. Joseph had to go through hard experiences to reach the plateau of success God had planned for him to be a savior for his brothers.
Joseph however, had several years to be prepared for the task the Lord had for him. When the maturity of time came for God’s plan to be fulfilled in his life, he was trusted with a very responsible position. He became second to Pharaoh, as the governor of Egypt. God gave him thirteen years of hard lessons preparing him to be his brother’s savior. He was only seventeen years old when he was taken to Egypt. Although young and handsome and at the prime of his life, Joseph did not fall into temptation to disobey the Lord. A thing worthy of our consideration in view of the today’s young generation. During his trials no vision was given him to confirm his dreams to be of prophetic meaning. He had those dreams when he was young and lacking understanding of their meanings. But he went through it all without running away; his spiritual strength kept him close to the commandments of the Lord. When Potiphar’s wife enticed him to sin against his moral integrity he answered her saying, “How can I do this great evil and sin against God?” Although innocent, he was put in jail. However, the Lord was with him and showed him mercy and loving-kindness and gave him favor in the sight of the warden of the prison (Gen. 39). God’s timing to raise Joseph from the ashes had finally come. He was then thirty years old when he took the position of governor of Egypt. These are the words Pharaoh told him when promoting him to governor: You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall be governed according to your word. Only in matters of the throne will I be greater than you are. I have set you over all the land of Egypt… he said to him, I am Pharaoh and without you shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt (Gen. 1: 38-46).