16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.Ex. 19:16–20 The picture of God given here is one of awesome glory and stark holiness. When the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, it was accompanied by thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, trumpets blasting louder and louder. And the result was that God’s people trembled (v. 16) and the whole mountain trembled greatly (v. 18).
Though God’s glory and holiness have not changed—he still remains “a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29)—he has made a way to come into his presence without fear. For through Jesus, we do not come to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Zion. We do not come to gloom and tempest but to “festal gathering.” We do not come to a voice, but to Jesus himself through his sprinkled blood (Heb. 12:18–24). Is it any wonder that Hebrews warns us not to refuse Jesus and his great salvation? He himself has made a way into God’s presence for us (Heb. 10:19–25)!