Summary: Although we are far removed by time and space from Mt. Sinai a look back at the shadow of Jesus found there will serve as a great blessing for us.
What a site it must have been. Three months after the Israelites left Egypt they were camped at the foot of a mountain in the Sinai Desert. Through Moses the LORD told the Children of Israel that he was going to make a covenant—a solemn agreement—with them. He reminded them of the powerful miracles He performed to free them from Pharaoh’s control. If they would now obey Him fully and keep His covenant they would forever be His treasured people. To this the all the people responded with one voice, “We will do everything the LORD has said.”
For three days the Israelites prepared for their meeting with God when He was going to tell them what He expected of them. At this meeting the LORD put on a pyrotechnic, multimedia show unlike any the people had ever seen. We are told in Exodus that there was thunder and lightning and a thick cloud hovering over the mountain. There was also a very loud trumpet blast. As the people stood at the base of Mount Sinai the LORD descended on it amidst fire and smoke. God caused the whole mountain trembled violently. In time the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. God gave Moses a few more warnings about any curious people attempting to climb the mountain. Like anyone was going to try that! Then God spoke the Old Testament lesson for this Sunday. He gave His people the Ten Commandments filling their eyes and ears with His holiness.
Obviously I have failed to recreate for you the awesome sights and sounds of the first giving of the LAW. The reaction I am seeing in you reflects that my description has fallen short of the real thing. This is how the Israelites reacted. “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.’” (Exodus 20:18-19) God’s holiness scared the people to death! Do you think the people of God might have wondered how in the world they were going to keep their promise to “do everything the LORD has said”? If they did begin to question their ability to do what God asked then the LAW was already beginning to do its work. It was serving as a shadow to point the people to their need for a Savior.
Although we are far removed by time and space from Mt. Sinai a look back at the shadow of Jesus found there will serve as a great blessing for us. Pray that the Holy Spirit would increase our faith and purify us from the sin that clings to us as we:
“SEE THE SHADOW AT MOUNT SINAI”
I. A shadow of the Savior we need
II. A shadow of the Savior we have
Of all the “shadows of the Savior” that we will view in our sermon series this Lenten season this one is the least direct. Yet it too leads us to Christ. God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Jacob’s dream of a stairway to heaven, and the bronze serpent may be more precisely connected to Christ. But the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai provides us with an essential view of our Savior’s work for our salvation.
There is a legend told about the famous coach of Notre Dame, Knute Rockne. At that time a sports columnist in a South Bend, Indiana newspaper earned the reputation of being the meanest, most critical writer in the country. The anonymous writer, who knew Notre Dame well, wrote about the team’s weaknesses. He pointed out the mistakes of individual players. He told about those who were lazy, about those who broke training and didn’t discipline themselves. Of course, this column made the players roaring mad. The truth hurt and players complained to Rockne. He listened with sympathy but said he could not stop the writer. He advised that the only way the players could do so was to go out and play the game so well that they would prove him wrong. Later it became known that the writer of the column was Knute Rockne himself. As coach of the team he was best acquainted with their weaknesses. The critical column was his ingenuous device to develop a better team.
Sometimes the Scriptures speak so sharply about us it hurts. But God tells the truth because He loves us and wants to change us. He knows that we must see our need for a Savior to be remade in his image and to live a life that pleases him. Today he invites us to see our need for a Savior in the shadow we see at Mt. Sinai.