18 You have not come to a place like Mount Sinai that can be seen and touched. There is no flaming fire or dark cloud or storm 19or trumpet sound. The people of Israel heard a voice speak. But they begged it to stop, 20 because they could not obey its commands. They were even told to kill any animal that touched the mountain. 21The sight was so frightening that Moses said he shook with fear.
22You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate. 23Here you will find all of God's dearest children, whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect. 24 And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God's new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.
25 Make sure you obey the one who speaks to you. The people did not escape, when they refused to obey the one who spoke to them at Mount Sinai. Do you think you can possibly escape, if you refuse to obey the one who speaks to you from heaven? 26 When God spoke the first time, his voice shook only the earth. This time he has promised to shake the earth once again, and heaven too.
27The words “once again” mean that these created things will someday be shaken and removed. Then what cannot be shaken will last. 28We should be grateful we were given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And in this kingdom we please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect. 29 Our God is like a destructive fire!
When was the last time you heard God speak to you? Did you respond with gratitude and action or did you completely ignore and disregard what he said? This portion of scripture is both fearful and awesome. There’s everything in it from Mt. Sinai and the giving of the law, to Mt. Zion where everything will be made new by the everlasting, living God who dwells there in all his glory and majesty. And in the midst of it all, God speaks.
We are assured God is alive in Jesus and is renewing all things, including the destruction and damage brought about from humanity’s first brawl (v 24). Abel is the first person in the Bible who was murdered (Genesis 4:2-16). God spoke to Cain, his brother, about his anger, but instead of listening to God, Cain allowed his hatred to destroy his relationship with Abel, which ultimately led him to kill him. And yet, even this broken, destructive relationship can be redeemed by Christ. It is important that we listen to God when he speaks to us!
The truth is God has communicated with us throughout history and he’s never stopped speaking to us (v 25). We are also reminded that Jesus is alive and “is here” with us (v 24). At no time in our lives have we been left alone by God (Deuteronomy 31:6). And in his presence, he’s speaking to us. It is up to us to listen, however, and then decide what we will do with what he says. Will we be like Cain and completely and horrifically ignore God’s voice? Or will we be like the billions of people in history who after hearing the voice of God follow through with what he’s said and by doing so begin to worship him (v 28)?
Thank you, Lord, for speaking intimately and specifically to me. Today, help me to hear your voice of love actively, not passively, with intention and action. If there is anything preventing me from hearing you, please remove it from my life. I want to follow through with what you’re saying to me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.