Exodus 24:15-17   When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai.  For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud.  To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

Modern Man is not comfortable with this revelation God makes of his character.  But Moses was in no doubt whatsoever about God’s holiness and how such holiness reacted to our sin-infested creation.

When God first spoke to Moses from the ‘burning’ bush, near to where he now was at Mount Sinai, Moses was instructed: “Do not come any closer …  Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:1-5).  These encounters made such an impact on Moses that he referred to them again in Deuteronomy 4:24 and 36 – “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. … … From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you.  On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire.”

The Old Testament prophets were also very much aware of this side of God’s essential character, and were not afraid to remind his people of it: “I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him” (Ezekiel 1:27); “Who can withstand his indignation?  Who can endure his fierce anger?  His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him” (Nahum 1:6); “His splendour was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.  Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps” (Habakkuk 3:4-5).

And the New Testament author of Hebrews also reminds us that although “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm …” … but “you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the living God … to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”, nevertheless, “since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:18, 22a, 24, 28-29).

Let us therefore, as Christians who benefit so greatly from God’s revealing his love, grace, mercy and compassion in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, not forget that these benefits are only possible and available to us because Jesus himself bore all the wrath of a holu God for us on the cross!
– Bruce Christian