no DIY religion

091914

Exodus 19:9-25

9 And the LORD told Moses, “See, I am going to come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear it when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, 10 the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. Because on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. 12 And you will set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain will be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether animal or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they will come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be prepared for the three days; by not going near a woman.” 16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and flashes of lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had come down on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, causing the whole mountain to violently trembled. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses said something, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, so they do not break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, so the LORD does not break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set boundaries around the mountain and consecrate it.'” 24 And the LORD said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not allow the priests and the people to break through to come up to the LORD, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

no DIY religion

The LORD warned Moses not to allow any of the people to approach the mountain during the time when he is revealing the law to Moses. There is a direct connection between this event, and the prohibition against eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden. In fact, the very same words, in the same grammatical structure, are used. They usually translate differently in English in the two places, so it is not so easy to see the connection. These translations better show the similarity:

“In the day that you eat of it, you will be put to death” (Genesis 2:17).

“Whoever touches the mountain, he will be put to death” (Exodus 19:12).

One obvious reason that these two prohibitions are so similar is that they both involve the knowledge of good and evil — knowing what God wants, and what he has outlawed. Why does God forbid that? Well, he does not exactly forbid it. He commands Moses and Aaron to approach, receive the law, and descend the mountain to teach that law to his people. God intends to show his will, but his people will only have access to it through his chosen servants.

Now God speaks to us through his Son, Jesus Christ.[1] Let not the philosophers and kings of this world dare to approach God’s holy mountain apart from him. He is the one of whom the Father has said “Listen to him.”[2]

That speaks against the grain of much of modern culture. We are used to doing it ourselves. We live in a DIY (do it yourself) age. But spiritual truth is not an area where we have the authorization to do it ourselves. God chooses those to whom and through whom he will speak. We should not presume to say anything that the LORD Jesus has not said, or would not say. It is a serious thing to declare our own ideas and teachings to those listening for God’s word.

LORD, give us the godly fear that we need to keep from presuming to say what you have not said through your Son. But give us the boldness to share his commands and teachings, knowing that they are your covenant message for today.


[1] Hebrews 1:2.

[2] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jeff is a Christian missionary and church elder.
This entry was posted in dependence upon God, Jesus Christ, ministry, Moses, will of God and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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