People come up with all sorts of reasons for not wanting to come close to God. “Religion causes wars,” is a popular one. The fact that most of the 20th Century wars were caused by atheists seems to go unnoticed. “How can a God of love cause so much suffering?” That’s another one. But the same people never stop to ask how much of that suffering is caused by greed and humans choosing to do bad things. It seems to me that God gets the blame for it all. I guess if people want a reason not to do business with God, they will come up with some valid-sounding argument.
In Exodus 20:18-21, the Israelites decided they were staying at a distance from God. They saw the thunder, lightning and smoke, and were understandably fearful. And if it had just been this incident, I would accept it as a valid reason for holding back. But the events that followed demonstrated a people who really were not wanting to engage with God wholeheartedly. They were happy to enjoy his liberation, provision and protection, but they were not wanting the totally committed lifestyle of a deeply personal, all-encompassing relationship with him. They wanted the goodies without the cost.
Many people today recognise the existence of God, and believe in him, but choose not to get involved in religion, for whatever reason they come up with. Many Christians today have pledged their allegiance to Christ, and have come to enjoy his liberation, provision and protection, but still do not not wish to fully enter in to an all-encompassing relationship with him. I certainly go through phases of that, if I’m honest.
Moses was probably scared out of his wits as he alone approached Almighty God, in the midst of the sights and sounds of his glory revealed on that mountain top. But he got to be called God’s friend. He got to speak to God face to face. He was chosen to take part in the Transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:2-9) where he met Jesus, clothed in glory. Moses may have had a hard time through much of his life, but he experienced a wonderful relationship with God, most of us miss out on because we just don’t want the cost.
I can come up with all the excuses for not drawing close to God, but I’m the one who loses out. How about you?