The Invitation Is for All of Us
“And the Lord said to Moses, … ‘Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, “Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it…”’” (Exodus 19:10,12 NIV)
God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, but the people were not allowed to approach the mountain. God even told Moses to put up boundaries and set the mountain apart as holy, because his presence was there. The people down below heard the thunder and saw the lightning over the mountain, which was covered in smoke “because the Lord descended on it in fire,” and they trembled with fear. They “stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’”
Later, when the tabernacle and then the temple were established, along with the priesthood, only the High Priest was able to go into the Most Holy Place where God’s presence dwelt. The High Priest went in once a year to offer sacrifices for his own sins and for the sins of the people. But again, the people were not allowed to come into the presence of a holy God.
By God’s grace, that changed when God sent his only Son to die a cruel death on the cross as a substitute for sinners like you and me. Jesus shed his blood and paid the price for our sins, so that we could be forgiven, have eternal life, and enjoy restored relationship with our heavenly Father. When we repent and accept Jesus’ atonement for our sins, we’re born again, and the barrier preventing us from approaching God is removed. That is why the curtain in the temple was torn in two when Jesus died. It symbolized the fact that God’s people would have access to the Most Holy Place— or God’s presence—from that moment on.
Now instead of “putting limits for the people,” God’s Word invites us into his presence, saying, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). And this invitation is not just for a pastor or any other leader. The invitation is for all of us!
What a privilege we have, because of Jesus! Let’s take advantage of that privilege by spending time in his presence each and every day.
Read Exodus 19:9-25.