|Published on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 12:00 AM|
Meditation for 30 April 2020 by Ted Ederer
“They stayed at a distance…The people remained at a distance…” Exodus 20:18, 21
I must admit that as I read the lessons assigned for today – Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus’ temptation by the devil in the wilderness; Colossians 1:24-2:7, Paul’s labor for the church; and, finally, Exodus 20:1-21, the Ten Commandments – I am not certain whether I was looking for a passage and message that spoke to me or looking for a passage that might relate to the coronavirus challenges that we are all experiencing. In selecting Exodus, perhaps the answer is “both.” We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments, but perhaps not as familiar with how the people received them. Moses had led the people out of Egypt and in the third month they were in the wilderness near Mt. Sinai. While assembled at the foot of the mountain, God speaks the commandments directly to them. There was thunder and lightning and they heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke and “they trembled with fear.” They stayed at a distance. They also implored Moses to be their intermediary with God, telling him to “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you…” Yet, while the people remained at a distance, Moses went into the thick darkness to meet with God.
Frequently, as I read verses from the Bible, I wonder whether things have really changed. Are we/am I that much different today from those living in the days of the Bible events? God’s chosen people heard the commandments directly from God; yet soon after, began worshiping other gods. They distanced themselves from God out of fear and urged Moses to speak to them on God’s behalf. They seemingly were afraid of being “too close.” Do we have that same fear or are we willing to have a personal relationship with God? Does Jesus – once again having been reminded of His death and resurrection for each of us in our annual celebration of the season of Easter - provide that direct personal relationship that we seek? Through Jesus, can we draw close to God – let God wrap God’s arms around us – or will we choose to remain distant?
During this time of pandemic , this time of shelter at home, there is time to make or reaffirm a choice. There is time to choose to cast away fear and draw close to God or to choose to stay at and remain at a distance.
Exodus 20:1-31 Psalm 37:1-18 Colossians 1:24-2:7 Matthew 4:1-11