God said, “Gracefeld, you and Perambula guide Israel to the mountain beneath us. I want the people to meet Me.”
“My Lord!” blurted Perambula. “How is that possible?! Are you going to take the form of a human apparition like you said we can do?”
“Of course not! I want them to know Me through the vail of fear, and respect. Just bring them here and watch what happens. The time has come that I have awaited since the days of Noah, since Creation, to re-form them from within. The problem has been that despite the conscience that I planted in them as I planted the lungs, yet unlike the lungs that function well, the conscience weakens in the presence of the ego. It’s a flaw. Clear rules for behavior from Me will strengthen the weak conscience. I will spell out what I expect from them with commandments and laws. Then there will be no excuse for misbehavior.”
Gracefeld sneered cynically, “I wish you success my Lord, but with all due respect, I doubt that will work. These beings seem too be too willful, but it’s worth a try.”
God smiled the smile of knowing, the smile of tolerance. “Oh, ultimately I will be very successful. You will see; but in the meantime make sure Moses has something to write with.”
On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they stopped at the foot of the mountain Sinai, where God was waiting for them, where Perambula and Gracefeld had lead them.
Moses was aware that God was there on that mountain and called him to hike up for instruction. After an hour’s hike, Moses stopped to rest. That’s when he heard the Lord say, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. Now go back and tell them.”
Gracefeld overheard that and thought, ‘Brilliant! God is going to use their ego to combat their ego’s power over the conscience.’ The angel smiled at its own foolishness cynicism.
Without delay, Moses turned and headed back down the mountain full of wonder. Being the link between divine God and human beings required tremendous physical strength for such an old man, and it required a clean and open heart. Moses had to straddle earth and heaven as no ordinary man before him, and no one since. Moses was most Alive, unique, humble, and open. No man before or after Moses had spent so much time serving as His instrument to change the face of the world. No one.
Moses is the giant stepping stone in the middle of the stream of centuries for ordinary humans to use to leap from the death and darkness of ignorance to the life and light of the knowledge of God.
As he carefully descended the mountain Moses’ thoughts turned to the people. He always knew that this congregation from the twelve sons of Jacob were special, set aside out of all mankind, but it was encouraging to hear it again from the Lord. Moses never saw Perambula and Gracefeld, but he sensed that the absence of more enemy tribes on this journey was providential.
He knew too that the covenant with Abraham was as strong as it had been on the day God announced it centuries earlier, on the day of the circumcision of Ishmael, but that the time had come for each person to have the covenant written on his and her heart. It was to be a covenant of relationship, a covenant of trust between Creator and created, between heart and face.
The covenant of trust that Abraham was so faithful to, would be affirmed by Abraham’s great grandsons and daughters daily through obedience.
When he returned to the camp, Moses summoned the elders and told them that the Lord God had instructions for them. He was relieved and a little surprised, given all their complaints, when he heard the people all answer as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
After the elders dispersed, Moses hiked back up the mountain to report the people’s willingness to obey. As he climbed the mountain Moses increasingly sensed the presence of the powerful Spirit of God until he could restrain himself no longer. Moses spoke out loud. He said, “Lord! The people want to meet You and they promised to obey you! Imagine that!”
The Lord smiled both for Moses’ enthusiasm and his naïveté. Moses did not sense the Lord’s smile or the reason for it, but only heard the Lord respond, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day I will come down this mountain in the sight of all the people.”
Then God became very serious and very stern. He said, “You will need to set limits for all the people. Tell them to be careful not to go up to the mountain or touch the edge of it. Any who touches the edge of the mountain will be put to death.”
Upon hearing that Moses was frightened and concerned. He wondered why others would be killed for something that was so common for Moses and how that would happen.
Reading his thoughts, God explained, “No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, then they may go up on the mountain. Now be gone and prepare the people.”
As Moses descended the mountain, he wondered why the other people had to take such great care to prepare themselves to meet God when all this time, he himself was neither ritually clean nor frightened. Well, not as frightened as he was when he saw the burning bush, but that was so long ago.
Gracefeld whispered into the heart of Moses, “If they aren’t afraid, if they don’t sense imminent death, then they will not feel compelled to obey. You are different Moses. You were not a slave. They have been ruled by fear and through fear they will be taught.”
His mind brimming with thoughts and arguments, Moses carefully descended the mountain watching out for snakes and loose rocks, until he reached the bottom where he was greeted by several elders.
Moses responded to their facial queries by saying, “Bring the congregation together here; I have something to tell them.”
When they all congregated around Moses who stood patiently at the foot of the mountain, and all eyes were on him, men young and old in the front, followed by a jagged layer of young maidens and old women, and on the outskirts mothers with children running about, he spoke with all the authority and power he could muster. Without help from Aaron, Moses took a deep breath and spoke slowly and distinctly with only a slight stutter.
When Moses lifted his right hand, the people instinctively all bowed their heads. He consecrated the people by praying, “May our Lord God bless these His people. May He keep and protect them from all harm, purify them from all unrighteousness that they will come to know Him and become a sacred holy unique people on this mighty earth.”
After a few moments of silence while the people absorbed the blessing and were sure Moses was finished, the people one after another looked up. Some faces appeared radiant with smiles, others were somber.
Looking straight into their faces, hundreds of eyes catching his own Moses added, “Now all of you, men included, wash your clothes, wash your bodies. Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman. Now be gone. Do as I say. The Lord God is watching us. Prepare yourselves to meet the almighty Creator.”
The congregation dispersed in silence. Israel didn’t know what to expect, but they all sensed that it could be overwhelming. Humility infused with fear visited every soul.
After all that these people had experienced in Egypt, the many strange and awful plagues, crossing through the sea on dry ground at night, water pouring from a rock, and daily manna falling to feed them, Israel could not begin to imagine what the Source of all this magic would be like.
Most young people were excited, and most older people were terrified in anticipation of meeting God. They all knew that Moses had been meeting and talking with Him for ages, and that he didn’t die, but no one ever stopped to think what it was like for Moses to be in the presence of such power and glory. One by one sleep claimed the mind of each man, woman and child. All of Israel lay in deep peaceful slumber on the night before their visitation.
On the morning of the awesome third day while women and children scurried around to gather the manna into baskets, a loud sound of thunder shocked everyone’s ears, and then lightening was seen as bolts crashing through the sky. No rain followed. Instead, a thick cloud as of fog covered the mountain. All hands stopped working, all eyes looked up at the mountain. Then, a blast of a celestial trumpet sounded so loud that all the people in the camp trembled with fear not knowing where that strange sound came from.
All heads turned left and right searching for Moses and upon seeing him went to join him who was leading the growing crowd that moved as one body out of the camp toward the loud and mysterious mountain.
By the time they arrive, Sinai was rapped in smoke. The Lord had descended on it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. The blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Moses hollered words no one could hear and God answered him in thunder. This bizarre conversation was more frightening than anyone reading this could imagine. Many fell on their knees and covered their heads with their hands with their eyes shut tightly.
Only Moses was not afraid. Those brave souls with eyes opened watched in awe as Moses climbed up to the top of the loud rumbling mountain. He appeared as a fly drawn to the light until he disappeared into the smoke.
Those close enough to hear, heard Moses shout, “Stay there! Do not follow me. I will be back.” No one tried to follow, not even Aaron.
When he arrived at the top of Mount Sinai, the Lord said to Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to break through to Me to look; otherwise many of them will perish. Even the priests who approach Me must consecrate themselves or they will die.”
Moses said to the Lord, “Remember, these people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and keep it Holy.”
The Lord said, “Okay. Go down, and return with Aaron; but do not let either the priests or the people follow.” So Moses carefully hiked back down the mountain to fetch his brother Aaron.