Keeping Our Distance

Recently, I was reading in Exodus 20 and the words describing what followed the giving of the Ten Commandments grabbed my attention …

18 All the people were seeing the thundering and the lightning, and heard the sound of the horn, and saw the mountain smoking—and when the people saw it they trembled with fear and kept their distance. 19 They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak with us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you so that you do not sin.” 21 The people kept their distance, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20.18-21, NET)

The presence of God among his people was evident, but God’s people were afraid. While Moses drew near, the people kept their distance!

How often do we keep our distance from God?

We may avoid God altogether. But as Christians, we may be more likely to stay close enough to feel okay, but also to maintain a safe, comfortable distance between us and God. We may attend worship, read the Bible, and pray, but we keep it pretty formal and perfunctory so as to keep our distance. We go through the motions without letting God get too close!

Hebrews 4.16 invites us to “draw near to the throne of favor with confidence” (CEB). And, James 4.8 encourages, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you” (CEB).

We always have the choice to keep our distance or to draw near to God!

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