Reading Plan Devotional - Week 4: The Mountain and the Mediator
Note: While we follow the Read Scripture reading plan and use the app this year as a church I’ll occasionally post reflections to help people along the way.
Reading Section: Exodus 19
I can't get over this verse: “The 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" (Ex 19:20). I can't get over not just because of what it meant for Moses' people but because of what it means for us today.
This man, this mediator named Moses, is representing God’s people to God and God to his people. This man stands between the gathered thousands at the base of the mountain and the God on the top of the mountain. The people cannot approach because, as God said, “Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death” (19:11). The people needed a mediator and God provided one for them.
As I read about this scene in Exodus I’m struck by the drama of it all: The image of one man slowly ascending a mountain that is covered in smoke and fire. He feels the heat coming off the mountain through his sandals. His ears are ringing with an indescribable and overwhelming sound that only grows louder as he climbs. Finally, at the peak, the presence of God himself descends and the words peal across the ridge like thunder.
The image reinforces what we have been learning through Genesis and Exodus: because of sin even God's people cannot approach God themselves. They need someone stand between they and God. Today, thousands of years after Moses, we still need someone to stand before us and God.
It would be many hundreds of years later that another mediator would ascend a terrifying hill. Unlike Moses this mediator would be perfect and spotless and blameless, unlike Moses this mediator had a right to ascend the hill. But instead, as he ascended he took on himself the blame and sin of his people. And on the top of that hill he was treated as if he deserved to die rather than welcomed as he deserved to be welcomed. Rather than simply feeling the heat as though from a nearby fire this mediator was cast into the fire of God’s wrath, overwhelmed with the white-hot holiness of God.
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus was the mediator that Moses only foreshadowed. When we see the image of Moses in Exodus 19 it should help us see all the more clearly the image of Christ in 1 Timothy 2. We should be ever more grateful that Jesus himself still stands on the mountain interceding for us (Romans 8:34). We should be ever more grateful that because of Jesus we will be welcomed up the mountain and find at the top no fire and wrath, only blessing and marvelous light.