Text: Exodus 19:12-13, 21-25 20:18-19
"It will kill us!" said the Israelites.
This is entirely opposite of the way Moses responded to God. When Moses saw the burning bush, he turned aside and went to look. (Ex 3:3) Then the Lord called out to him by name. (Ex 3:4) And Moses simply said, "Here am I."
In verses 5-6, God tells him 1) do not come near, 2) take off your shoes, this is holy ground, and 3) I am the God of your fathers. And finally Moses flinches. He hides his face because he's afraid to look.
But he doesn't run away. He want's to be where God is. He stands his ground; he doesn't withdraw.
Why do the Israelites withdraw? They draw back from God instead of drawing near to Him. God didn't have their feet nailed to the ground, so they were free to do so. Moses was free to walk away also. We have that same option every day, but even if God had nailed the Israelites' feet to the ground, they wouldn't have really drawn near, so the withdrawing is just a symptom of something. Of what?
These people had been there in the thick of things. They'd been through the plagues, they'd been miraculously given all this jewelry by the Egyptians, they'd been across the Red Sea. They'd been fed manna, had bitter water sweetened, and received water from the stricken rock. They'd seen Amalek defeated strictly because Moses' arms were held aloft.
They'd seen God do for them repeatedly, and it did not produce the desire in them to draw closer. What condition could produce this result?