Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 12

When God spoke his commands

Hebrews 12:19

Travel writers have described the desert called Sinai as one of the quietest places on earth. People there can hear their own footsteps as they walk through the sand. They can even hear their own hearts beat. There is nothing to disturb the complete silence.

But on the day when God gave his commands to Israel, the people heard the loudest sounds. First, they heard the sound of a trumpet (Exodus 19:16), which became even louder (Exodus 19:19). The trumpet is a loud musical instrument. It was so loud that city guards used trumpets to sound the alarm. Their trumpets had to be loud enough to wake the inhabitants of an entire city (Ezekiel 33:2-6; Nehemiah 4:19-20).

The voice that made the people so afraid was Godís voice. He spoke to declare his commands in Exodus 20:1-17. Those ten commands show that Godís standards are perfect. Everyone is guilty when God is our judge (Romans 3:9-20; James 2:10-11). God is right when he punishes us for our evil deeds. That was why the people were so afraid to hear Godís commands. So they urged Moses that God should speak only to him (Exodus 20:19). Moses would tell them what God had said. But it was too frightening for them to hear Godís voice. The people were sure that they would die.

But now God has spoken to us by his Son (Hebrews 1:2). And his words brought life, not death (John 6:63; John 6:68). However, we must believe him and we must trust him (John 6:69). If we invite him into our lives, he will save us. But if not, there will be another terrible day when God is our judge (Hebrews 12:25-26). And because we have not obeyed his commands, he will certainly punish us (Revelation 20:11-15).

Next part: It is a serious matter to approach God (Hebrews 12:20)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.