According to Psalm 99:6, Moses and Aaron were God’s priests, but He just didn’t want them to be His priests. He wanted the children of Israel to be His priests, also. And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6). God brought them out of Egypt to bring them to Himself.
The Lord told Moses that He wanted to speak to the children of Israel on the mount, but before they could present themselves to Him, Moses had to first sanctify them and then they had to wash their clothes. On the third day, Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, but they were not allowed to go up on the mount. They stood at the foot of the mountain.
But when they saw the thunderings, the lightnings, the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they removed (moved away) and stood afar off (Exodus 20:18). Moses immediately explained to them that God came to test them. God didn’t want them to be afraid of Him, but He wanted them to walk in the fear of the Lord (reverence, respect) so that they wouldn’t sin against Him. But they chose to stand afar off while Moses drew near to God.
God picked the right person when He picked Moses to deliver His people. I know Moses wasn’t in bondage for over 400 years, but he was a Hebrew who was raised as an Egyptian. He learned the ways and the gods of the Egyptians too, but the difference between him and the Israelites was that he left what was behind him for Who was before Him. By faith, he forsook Egypt (Hebrews 11:27).
One of the reasons why the Israelites kept disobeying God and going back to things God delivered them from was because they were too close to their old ways and to what was familiar. And that was me, too. There were doors that I kept open. There were things and people that I refused to let go of, but what I didn’t understand was that it was those things that were hindering me and keeping me from drawing closer to God. I didn’t understand that when I left the door open, I gave place or room to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). I gave him an opportunity to operate in my life and to defeat me in areas that Jesus had already defeated him in.
Joseph showed us a great example of what it means to walk in the fear of the Lord. When Potiphar’s wife tried to sleep with him, he refused. My master has kept back nothing from me. He has given me everything, but he did not give me you, his wife. Because he’s been so good to me, how can I do this wickedness? How can I sin against God (Genesis 39:9, paraphrased)? The way Joseph honored Potiphar is the way we ought to honor God. Because God has given us all things, we should give Him all of us.
The Lord is not a God afar off (Jeremiah 23:23), but some of us have been afar off from Him. God wants us to come to the mountain because the mountain is where God gives His word, laws and commandments (Exodus 24:12). The mountain is where God wants to teach you (Isaiah 2:3). The mountain is where change takes place (Matthew 17:2). The mountain is where God reveals (Matthew 17:5).
If Christ is in you, then you are in Him and He now calls you a new creature, but some of you are still too close to old things. You’re too close to your past. Don’t remain at the foot of the mountain. Come closer. Come up higher. Let God show you who are you. God doesn’t want you to be ignorant. He doesn’t want Satan to deceive you and take advantage of you any longer.
When Jesus saw the fig tree, all He saw was leaves. That was a problem because He was hungry (Matthew 21:18), but He didn’t speak to the problem. He spoke to the root of the problem. And in the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots (Mark 11:20). Sometimes all you can see is the problem, but let God show you the root of your problem. Let Him show you what you are closest to and what is keeping you from getting closer to Him.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me on the mountain and stay there (Exodus 24:12, NIV).
[Scripture references: Exodus 19 – 20]