Speaking in the Maelstrom

Despite being terrified and knowing that his presence on Mt. Horeb was underwritten by God, his face-to-face God, and that his career needed this encounter. How do we know? He tells us in Hebrews 12:21, Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I tremble with fear. Moses hears the memorable sounds, feels the momentous tremors, and, groping in the dark, he opens his mouth.

And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever. When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, Exodus 19:9

What that was exactly is clear from the following. Exodus 19:18

Now Mount Sinai was

  • wrapped in smoke because
  • the Lord had descended on it in fire.
  • The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and
  • the whole mountain trembled greatly. .

One would think that the right thing to do was to keep quiet especially as the noise increased.

And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder (vs 19)

God answers with thunder! One just can’t win against God. If one is interested in going up for a chat then one needs to be aware that with the volume rising amid tremors, fire, smoke and darkness we can be intimidated or dare to speak and get thunderous answers.

The prayer life of Moses certainly has some sobering elements. If the Psalm, Prayer of Moses, is any indication, Moses may have been afraid but up on Mt. Horeb was where God was and if God is there things will turn out just right. It was home: loud, dark, shaky, and smoky.

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Psalms 90:1