READING: Exodus 19-21
“Do not have other gods besides me.”
Surely it was frightening to the people of God. Thunder roared. Lightning cracked. A thick cloud covered the mountain. A trumpet sounded so loudly “that all the people in the camp shuddered” (Exo. 19:16). The power of God was so apparent in the next chapter that the people “trembled and stood at a distance” (Exo. 20:19). Moses told them, though, that they need not fear all that was happening. God was working through the dramatic events for a purpose: “God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin” (Exo. 20:20).
The people need not fear the stuff happening around them, but they did need to fear the One who was moving nature at His command. That kind of deep respect and awe for God—indeed, a genuine terror of God and His holiness—should cause the people to walk away from sin. God was thus testing them; after all, no one should want to displease the God so evident in the power displays on the mountain. He made Himself known to them so they would take seriously their commitment to follow Him.
Frankly, I don’t think about these truths enough when I face temptation. I suspect that I have so taken God’s grace and mercy for granted that I’ve forgotten the powerful, almighty Creator God before whom I will answer one day. I also take for granted the truth that God has made Himself known to me through Christ, His Word, and His people so that I might want to follow Him completely.
He has come to me so that I might not sin against Him. That’s amazingly gracious.
- Meditate throughout the day on God’s displays of power in today’s reading.
- In all your choices today, have no other gods before Him.
PRAYER: “God, I honor You for who You are today. I turn from all my false gods.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Exodus 22-24