Summary: There’s only one way to get to heaven... but people always seem to be trying to force God to do things their way. What types of things do people do to force their will on God’s Word?
OPEN: A school teacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. It fit under his shirt and was not noticeable at all. On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in school.
Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.
He had no trouble with discipline that term.
APPLY: There’s something about a teacher that’s able and willing to staple his tie to his chest that can get the attention of a class. And this teacher got that attention because… in that simple act… he proved that no matter how tough they thought they were - he was tougher!
Now, at the foot of Mount Sinai, God has essentially stapled His tie to His chest. He’s come down on the mountain with fire and He has made it to smoke like a furnace. His presence has caused the earth to tremble so violently that it shakes the ground where the Israelites stand. And then there’s the sound of the trumpet grew louder and Louder and LOUDER in their ears.
Hebrews 12:21 tells us that
“The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."
No matter how tough these Israelites may have thought they were up to this point God just proved He was tougher.
Now why would God do that? Why go thru this big “light and sound display” at this point in His relationship with Israel?
Well, God is about to give them His rule book. His Law.
And people are funny about rules.
There’s just something about rules and regulations that makes people itchy.
Many people don’t like rules. They prefer “guidelines”.
They prefer items that are “flexible” and malleable.
ILLUS: Several years ago, the State of Kentucky had a law that every classroom in its in public schools had to post the 10 Commandments. But the US Supreme Court ruled against the state of Kentucky ordering it to take down all copies of the Ten Commandments from the walls of its schools saying: "Having the commandments on the wall may induce a student to read, meditate upon, and actually obey what is therein written."
There has been a continuous low grade effort to remove the 10 Commandments from the national consciousness. Again and again, the ACLU has pushed to have them removed from every public venue in an effort that can only be described as a vendetta.
Why all this opposition?
Why? Because the 10 commandments are so absolute.
As one person noted:
The Ten Commandments were written on stone, not in metal, clay, or mud which can be melted, shaped or molded. None of the commandments, like the tablets on which they were originally carved is malleable. Each can be broken, but not altered.
ILLUS: Now, according to the book "The Day America Told the Truth" that doesn’t make much difference to many people:
In America, only 13 percent of adults believe in ALL 10 commandments.
While 40 % believe in 5 out of the 10.
There’s something about the permanence of God’s Law that offends people. And it offends them because it calls them on their innate sinfulness. They prefer to make up their own rules. They prefer to be the gods of their lives the ones who determine what is right and wrong.
And basically - what God is doing on the mountain is telling these folks that won’t work for Him. He’s saying to them:
I am God… and you’re not.
I get to make the rules… and you don’t
If you want my blessings in your life - if you don’t want to get on my bad side - then you better come to grips with the fact that the law I’m going to give you is not open to debate.
You don’t get to vote.
You don’t get to choose which parts you like and which parts you don’t.
And God is making this point with the Israelites because, they want to vote.
Look again at Exodus 19:21-25
Moses gets part way up the mountain to get the 10 commandments and God tells him
“… and the LORD said to him, ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will break out against them.’
Moses said to the LORD, ‘The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’’