The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:21)
I remember the first time I noticed this verse. I was in the middle of a trial, a spiritual battle, a dark time. This was a scheduled passage for the day, and I’d read it many times before, and I wasn’t expecting anything new. I wasn’t expecting living words to jump off the page to me. I was reading about God, but I guess I wasn’t expecting Him to show up and change my thinking. To change me.
But that’s what God does when we draw near to Him. He shows up. He teaches. He admonishes. He uses His words to change us.
In the passage, God has just given His ten commandments. There is lightning and thunder and smoke and noise. The people are afraid and they pull away. And isn’t that how we sometimes feel when some big thing is happening? We don’t want to deal with it; we don’t have time for it; we just don’t want it to be true. It’s easier to turn away–to distance ourselves from God and what He is trying to do.
Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:20)
He tries to reassure them. Don’t be afraid. There is purpose in the testing. God means it for good. But only Moses draws near to the thick darkness where God is. And God speaks to him there.
I read this passage again this week. And again I am reminded to draw near. Don’t be afraid.
The darkness is not hiding God. The darkness is where He is.
Draw near to the thick darkness where God is.