Weekly Devotion – Exodus 19:16

Published 6:10 pm Sunday, April 21, 2024

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By Mike Caton

Exodus 19:16, “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.”

The third day comes, as they have a way of always doing. It occurred to me there are other third day events in the Bible as well, in fact that phrase, three days, is used almost 60 times and the phrase third day is used almost 40. To be sure, many of them just refer to the normal passing of days, but there are some that are significant: Jonah was in the fish’s belly three days, Lazarus and Jesus were both in the tomb three days.

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But on this third day there was thunder and lightning and a thick cloud covered the mountain. This sounds like it might just be a bad thunderstorm, right? The people had no doubt experienced those before. But something was different this time. God had told them this was going to happen. This is the beginning of the event they have been preparing themselves for. God is about to appear to them! And there is a very loud trumpet blast. I wonder where this blast came from? Did the Levites blow this trumpet? Or did an angel blow this trumpet? We’re not told. But either are possibilities. God would want the people warned not to get too close and so endanger themselves. Those Israelites knew this was no ordinary day, no ordinary storm, this was the appearing of God, just as he promised!

And everyone in the camp trembled. That is the usual reaction when people find themselves in the presence of God. People are undone, they realize they are where they do not belong, they realize all that God is and all that they are not. And fear, trembling, falling face down, are all common and proper responses. We need to realize that ourselves. God is holy and we are sinful. And we need to give the proper respect to God. This is not just a once a week response, it should be an every single day response to the Lord. But the good news is that God himself has made a way for us to enter his presence, through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus on our behalf. It does not make us worthy, it makes us invited. We cannot get there on our own, it is a free gift. And we need to recognize it and live it every day.

Father, thank you for inviting me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works as a full time AEMT with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.