What was it like for Moses to actually climb up that quaking, thundering mountain and walk right into the fire of God? Remember again the smoking, fiery moutain in the wilderness. When the earthquake came and the voice of God thundered, the people were terrified and ran away. (See previous post, July 30) But Moses “drew near unto the thick darkess where God was.” (Ex. 20:21) This darkness that sometimes seems to surround God is actually the “dense oil of the spirit – incomprehensible to man and therefore seemingly dark”. (see footnote)
Even though the rest of the people ran away in terror, Moses wanted God so desperately that he was willing to answer His invitation to come up into the fire. My guess is that the higher he climbed and the closer he came, the more the fire turned to glory and the thicker the presence of God became until he was enveloped by God Himself.
In later expereinces he actually talked with God “face to face as a man speaks to his friend”. (Ex.33:11) I’ve heard many preachers quote the other verse … you know, the one where God said, “You cannot see my face; for there shall no man see me and live.” (Ex. 33:20) I puzzled about that verse for a long time. It’s interesting that both these verses occur in the same chapter and were written by the same man under the inspiration of God. Even studying the Hebrew words revealed that the same word was used both times for “face”. There was no difference of terms. More interesting still is the fact that speaking face to face with God was recorded first in v. 11, while the verses shortly following that seem to restrict that ability.
There are times when God seems to “bend the rules” or bring something into the present that is actually reserved for the future. This usually happens because of an intimate relationship with Him. We see this in the life of David when he was allowed to put the Ark of God in a tent in his back yard and change the whole pattern of worship during a certain time period. (1 Chron. 16) We see this at the wedding of Cana when Jesus mother Mary persuaded Him to do the first miracle even though He told her it was not yet His time. (St. John 2)
Could it be that God was saying to Moses, “You and I have such a close relationship that you have become My friend and I can speak to you face to face. But just so you know the rules for this time period … no man can see Me and live. (Ex. 33:20,21) However … there is a place, a position beside Me, where you can stand.” Perhaps the Lord left the door open just enough for Moses to get through.
But now the rules that held us at a distance have changed! Now Jesus has come and died for us and opened the way for relationship with God. Now we have a better covenant and better promises based on relationship with God. (Heb. 8). Now there is a door standing open in Heaven and a voice calling “Come up here”! (Rev. 4:1)
What are we waiting for? Just respond to His call. Just start climbing, step by step, up the mountain to meet with the One you love.
*Footnote: This is a quote from Anna Rountree’s book Heaven Awaits the Bride.