“So it was, when you heard the Voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. And you said: ‘Surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.”
Moses is speaking to the children of Israel. He has just received the Ten Commandments from the Lord and has called an assembly to share God’s instructions. God has shown them His glory and His greatness. He has shown them His consuming fire and He has allowed His children to hear His voice.
They heard His voice out of the darkness.
It was the same Voice Moses heard.
It was the same darkness Moses experienced.
Yet, the people were afraid.
Why wasn’t Moses frightened?
Moses knew the One in Whom he had believed. He was in a relationship with El Elyon, the Most High God. For Moses, the darkness was because of God’s brilliant Presence behind the shield of a cloud. God’s radiance created the dense shadow in the cloud, thus the darkness.
For Moses, the darkness was affirmation of God’s presence.
Perhaps, for the Israelites, the darkness magnified the schism between them and their God. After all, their relationship with Him was marred by repeated rebellion. Their relationship wasn’t bathed in love. It was birthed in fear – afraid kind of fear, not reverential.
The Hebrew word for darkness used in this passage is choshek (kho-shek). The literal translation means darkness, night, obscurity. But the figurative definition is misery, destruction, death, ignorance or sorrow (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary).
In my own life there have been times when the darkness around me felt like misery, destruction and great sorrow. But as I think about it, those were the times when I was placing my hope in people, not God. Those were the times I was doing my own thing, times when I had lost my first love – Jesus.
I am learning to press in daily. I am learning to make my quiet time with the Lord non-negotiable. It must be priority in my life. And as I allow my heart to give way to His gentle whispers I have found that the darkness is comforting and secure. When I am in an intimate relationship with Him the darkness affirms His Presence in my life. I am secure in the shadow of His wing.
During these times of darkness – which surely will come -I can hear His voice calling to me, “Nan, come near. Do not be frightened; I am with you. Is anything too difficult for Me?” The brilliance of His presence casts a shadow over me and blankets me with His love.
Think about your times of darkness.
Remember, you are a child of the Most High God. Walk with Him. Pour out your heart to Him and listen as He comforts you. The darkness will surround you as an embrace; it can no longer threaten you with accusations of doubt and misery. As you focus on the Lord your God, your spirit will recognize His Spirit, His presence. Your eyes will be opened to behold His remarkable Light behind the veil of darkness, casting His shadow over you and bringing you peace.
“So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:21)
SELAH. Pause and think about it.
Father, Thank You for teaching us the mysteries of who You are. You are beyond comprehension, Your love is more than we can imagine. Open the eyes of our heart to understand that when we walk closely with You, the shadow of Your presence will overtake any dark reflection of evil that would threaten to invade our lives. Thank You for Your mercy, Lord and thank You for Your grace. We love You.