God Answered in the Thunder [Exodus 19]
3Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 4'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. 5'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel."
8All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.
10The LORD also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments;11and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
18Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. 20The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
I wonder what it would have been like to be the liaison between God and His people. In this account it meant walking up the mountain three different times. God would tell Moses something and then he would go down and report to the people. The second time he went up God told him to go back and prepare the people for three days. So the people washed their clothes and prepared themselves to meet the Holy God. Moses warned them not to go past the boundary at the foot of the mountain or touch it or they would put to death. He worked hard to give the people all that the LORD had spoken to him. He understood what an important job this was and he was diligent to help prepare them to meet their God.
When God appeared He came very visibly. "Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently." As God appeared He appealed to all of their senses - they saw, smelled, and tasted the smoke, they felt the shaking of the mountain and they heard God speak in the thunder. "Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder." What a spectacular display that they should never have forgotten. But as we already know, they had a very short memory. When Moses came back up to the top of the mountain, the LORD sent him right back down to warn them not to break through the boundaries to try to see the LORD.
Moses wasn't so sure he really needed to go back and remind them again. He even argued with the LORD that he had already made it clear to the people to consider the mountain holy. But God sent him back down to tell them again.
Father, we praise You that You are a holy God that wants to be known by Your people. You go to great lengths to make sure we know that it is You. Thank You for Your tender loving care in guiding them to approach You in a way that wouldn't bring death to Your people. Thank You that we have Jesus, who is now our liaison and that by His blood we are made holy. We praise You that we can now enter with confidence and come to the throne of grace because of Jesus, our great High Priest. (Heb. 4:16)