These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. (Deuteronomy 5:22)
There is tradition in Judaism that when God spoke to Israel at Mount Sinai, initially His voice was heard by everyone; that is why Moses said, “the LORD spoke to all your assembly … with a loud voice.” This tradition seems to be substantiated by several verses including those that record the people’s response which was, “if we hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore, then we shall die” (Deuteronomy 5:25). In short, they couldn’t bear to hear more and, consequently, God didn’t add any more at that time. Years later, Moses said to those about to enter the land: “The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken'” (Deuteronomy 5:28).
In the end, Moses communicated to the people those things God wished for them to hear. However, God also added this statement: “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29). Even though they had said, “We will hear and do all that the LORD commands,” God knew it was not in their heart to follow through. We should also take note of this irony: they were convinced that if God stopped speaking, they would live. As it turned out, in time, almost all of them died — and why? They died because they didn’t want to hear what God had to say.
According to Scripture, man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD God. But in regard to the generation that was assembled at Mount Sinai, the writer of Hebrews says, “Those who heard (the voice of God) begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded” (Hebrews 12:19-20). I would suggest that many in this day and time would fall into that category as well — unable to endure what God commands us to do. So few are truly receptive to what God has to say because too few are willing to die to their carnal inclinations and desires.
But as followers of Messiah, we must wholeheartedly receive what He has to say, even when it causes our flesh to cringe. Let us embrace the admonition given in Hebrews 12 which says: “Do not refuse Him who speaks” (Hebrews 12:25). Instead, let us respond to His Voice with “Hineni (‘Here I am’). Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.”
Blessings and Shalom,