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God Speaks at Mount Sinai

Exodus 19

Three months had passed since we had set foot out of Egypt. Three wretched months of wandering. The weight of my leather pack caused my legs to begin to give way as I continued to look down, slowly shuffling one foot in front of the other. “STOP!” I heard Moses cry out. I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. I raised my eyes with a hopeful glance of my surroundings. Sand and mountains as far as my eyes could see. A groan escaped my lips. “What kind of place is this? Doesn’t look like a promised land to me.” I grumbled.

“We set up camp in front of that mountain,” Moses bellowed across the droves of people, pointing to a nearby stony peak.

Scores of families began to fan around the base of the mountain. I had just begun to roll out my blanket when a booming voice swirled around, throwing me to the ground as if someone had thrust a block of limestone against my chest. “MOSES!” The voice reverberated throughout the rest of the crowd, making small rocks on the ground jolt in fear. A grin began to spread on Moses’ face. He grabbed his staff and eagerly began to climb the mountain.

I hate it when he does that, I thought to myself. Acts like he’s so much better than the rest of us. Who does he think he is? Just because he’s an ex-prince of Egypt… I went back to laying out my blanket, continuing to murmur under my breath.

Sometime later while many of us were eating our second meal of manna for the day, I saw Moses crossing over to the elders from the foot of the mountain.

“We will do everything the Lord has said,” I heard the assembly of elders pronounce.

My eyes began to narrow in distrust as I watched Moses once again ascend the mountain. Knowing I was always the last one to be told what was going on, I folded my arms behind my head and took the opportunity to rest my eyes.

“Wake up!” A nearby neighbor shook my elbow. “Moses is back, and he is telling us to wash our clothes! God is coming!”

I reluctantly opened one eye, looking around, confused by what I had just heard. God is coming here? What are these crazy people up to now? How is GOD coming here? I raised myself up onto my elbows, craning my neck around. Everyone was in a tizzy. Women hastily grabbed robes. Men began creating a barrier around the bottom of the mountain. Children cried, “God is coming! God is coming!”

Rolling my eyes, I decided to follow suit with the rest of these lunatics and wash all my clothes. I didn’t want to chance finding wormy manna in the morning if I didn’t do what I was told.

Three mornings later, I woke to see the usual bread-like substance frosted on the ground. While gathering my meals for the day, I muttered to myself, I don’t know what all the fuss was about. I haven’t seen anything like God come through this wretched desert. Moses has definitely lost it this time. When is he going to get it together and realize it’s time to take us back to Egypt?

Suddenly, a billowing gust of wind began to surge throughout the camp. A rumble of thunder and a crack of lightning burst through dense, gray, moody clouds hovering over the nearest mountain top. A piercing trumpet burst through the air, causing everyone around me to clasp their hands to their ears.

I took a moment to gain my bearings and then returned my gaze to the summit. I watched in horror as infinite clouds of smoke cascaded down the mountain. Disbelief plastered itself across my face as the mountain itself began to tremble violently.

The trumpet continued to blast, growing louder and louder.

“MOSES!” I heard through the disarray. Moses disappeared in the thick puffs of smoke. He quickly returned, crying out through the rolling smoke with arms flailing, “Whatever you do, don’t touch the mountain!”

Droves of people near the mountain ran away in haste from the smoke curling toward them over the man-made barricade.

A majestic voice echoed throughout the mountain range, in a whistling boomerang.

“'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.'”

My body began to shake violently, trembling in fear. Tears streamed down my face, racing to collect on the blanket that my quivering hands held tightly to my chest. I sat in silence, allowing sand to imprint itself on my ankles. Every thought escaped my mind except one awestriking, mind-blowing revelation.

I had just heard the voice of God.

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