Summary: Exploring how Moses drew near to God when everyone else ran away
Drawing Near To God
CCCAG August 27th, 2017
Scripture- Exodus 20-18-21
Children and Santa Clause
Which of us men here have had the experience of going Christmas shopping at a mall with your family? As a father of young girls, I found out very early that the only reason I am there is to deal with the holiday traffic and to carry their bags while I sit outside the store with the other men and people watch.
On one of these outings to the mall, my ladies were in a store looking at clothes, and I was sitting on the bench outside watching the kids line up outside the area set aside for Santa’s village. Most of the kids were excited about seeing Santa. They are seeing all the flashy things about Christmas- the elves, the sleigh, the Christmas tree and as they get closer they are getting more and more excited about telling Santa all of wishes and desires for the best and most sought-after gifts that Christmas season.
The excitement and volume of the children got louder and louder as they got closer and closer to being able to sit in Santa’s lap. Their necks would be craning to catch a glimpse of him behind the curtain and wiggling in anticipation.
Then the moment came- the curtain was pulled aside, and they saw Santa sitting in his high-backed chair with his arms extended toward them and letting out a huge barrel laugh of “Ho Ho Ho!”.
For about 80% of those little kids, that moment turned from anticipation to absolute terror. Many ran behind their parents. If they were being held, they would try to crawl over the back of their parent’s shoulders to get away from this huge, strangely dressed man with the big booming voice.
I even saw a few kids pushing their parents forward saying, “You tell Santa what I want. I’m not going up there!”
When I started studying the scripture we are going to look at today it reminded me of kids in line to see Santa-
• They had an idea of what Santa was, but not who he was
• They understood the benefits of knowing him- he gave presents! But they wanted nothing to do with him on a personal level.
• Some of those children still wanted the gifts, but wanted someone else to ask for them.
That is the crux of the biblical account we will be reading today.
The background for today’s message is that God has just spoken the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments was God holding out His arms to His children and asking them to come up into His lap and get to know Him. The commandments are God saying, “This is who I am at the deepest level, now come to me and experience me in all of my fullness”
The Hebrews acted like the children in the mall in this encounter with God, and it’s with this thought in mind that I want to read Exodus 20:18-21.
Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV)
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Today’s scripture summarizes the bible’s message- a humanity that continually resists the call of God to draw near, and eventually God providing the solution to that situation in the person of Jesus Christ.
This morning we are going to explore the reasons that we resist drawing near to God, and then a few of the things we do to avoid it, and finally God’s solution to this problem.
So let’s begin with the
I. Reasons we are afraid of intimacy with God
There are two kinds of fear- one that causes you to run away from something, and one that causes you to face or deal with something or someone carefully.
My grandfather discovered early on that I had a fear of heights, which is actually a fear of falling. So every chance he got when we were in the woods, or hiking to find a fishing spot, he would make me look over a cliff and stand there and deal with my fear. He told me that fear is not a bad thing, fear is fine as long as you face it and overcome it, and that is what being a man is all about.