Day 28: Exodus 19-22; Matthew 20:1-16

God's presence was terrifying to the people of Israel as they anticipated His encounter with Moses that would give them the Law. Even after they were consecrated and prepared, they were afraid to death. Boundaries were set up (Exodus 19:12) so they would not get too close. Even after the Law was given, they begged Moses to be their mediator (Exodus 20:18-19) for fear of dying. God's awesome display of glory was to instill in His people the awfulness of sin as a motivation for right living (Exodus 20:20). The people pledged to listen to Moses as long as they did not have to go into God's they stood at a distance while Moses mediated (Exodus 20:21).

Fear is a horrible motivator and keeping God at a distance is dangerous. You have read the Book, so you know what is next. The problem is never God. The Law of the LORD is perfect (Psalm 19:7). The issue is the heart of fearful, distant, sinful humanity. When the law is internalized (Jeremiah 31:31-33) and God dwells within us (John 14:15-17), we delight to keep God's law.  This is when we learn that the words of that great carol we sang more than once this Christmas season are true: "His law is love and His gospel is peace" (O Holy Night). Thank God that my surrendered will becomes His as He makes His dwelling in my heart. His Spirit in me empowers me to live moment-by-moment in relationship with Him. Changed heart, changed motivation...fear is gone, distance nothing can separate me from His love, and I can love Him wholly, fulfilling the greatest command (Matthew 22:37-40).
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