“The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” (Exodus 19:10-11)
Three months after leaving the life of slavery in Egypt, Moses and the nation of Israel were in the wilderness of Sinai and had encamped near the mountain (Exodus 19:1-2). Out from the mountain, the Lord called and spoke to Moses, reminding him of His great deliverance and declaring to Israel His promise if they obey His voice and keep His covenant (Exodus 19:3-6).
After Moses reported the people’s response, God commanded Moses to prepare the people, as He will come down to Mt. Sinai on the third day (Exodus 19:7-13). Moses instructed the Israelites to wash their clothes and abstain from marital intimacy as they get themselves ready to meet God (Exodus 19:14-15).
On the third day, the LORD came down to Mt. Sinai as He had said to Moses. As He was descending, the Bible says that “there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled” (Exodus 19:16). That moment was probably one of the greatest moments in Israel’s history as a nation—God revealing Himself to them firsthand. Mount Sinai “was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently” (Exodus 19:18). The prophet Jeremiah said, “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation” (Jeremiah 10:10).
This momentous event in Exodus 19 reminds us that the LORD is holy, living, omnipotent and the true God. His very presence not only shook the whole earth but caused the people’s heart to tremble in fear as they met the God who redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. I urge you to read Exodus 19 again and imagine yourself with the Israelites gazing upon the holiness and omnipotence of the LORD God!