MOUNT SINAI VS. MOUNT ZION
Hebrews 12:18-24 – “For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.’ Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’ But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
This is another example of the differences between the old and new covenant. In the old, one pictures the rightful terror associated with imagining sinful man coming close to the holiness and righteousness of God. “For you have not come to what may be touched…”
But in the new covenant, we are told to come near to God, we are told to worship him with no fear…touching him is no longer forbidden. The reason for this is Jesus–his death and resurrection tore the veil, he paid the price of sin and took on himself the punishment and wrath of God. The separation demanded at Mt. Sinai is reversed, replaced by instant access to the tangible presence of God. Because of Jesus coming, we can now reach & touch God. The separation is no more.
SHAKE IT OFF
Hebrews 12:25-29 – “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will he escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
We know that our world is in desperate need of a shake down…but do we really want it? Are we ready for what that means?
“…in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.” — There is coming a day when the Lord God, creator and redeemer will literally shake off everything that is contrary to his very nature, everything that is not essential to his kingdom. We will be free of suffering, darkness, and slavery to sin. He will HEAL us.
WILL YOUR GRIP HOLD?
We tend to overestimate our grip. But we are not the ones who hold ourselves up. JESUS is the one that holds on to us.
Think back to verses 18-24, “…Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant…” has made life lived in proximity to God a reality. We read in the gospel of Matthew that as Jesus hung on the cross and breathed his last breath, “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” (Matthew 27:51)
- The tearing of the temple veil symbolized that the separation between God and man was no longer needed. That is why Mt. Zion is so different from Mt. Sinai. Our destiny is to be in close proximity with God, and to feel his touch once again.
- And because of Jesus: God’s touch no longer kills but becomes the ONLY thing that can save us when the shaking comes.
John 10:14-30 – “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will ever snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
The only thing as strong as the Father’s shake is the Father’s grip. And Jesus and the Father are one. Therefore it is not our grip that saves us. And when we let go of our own grip, we experience the freedom that comes from embracing God’s mighty grip.
A song by Mat Kearney called All I Need inspired Dave’s sermon this week. Take a look at some of the lyrics:
“If everything we’ve got is blowing away,
We’ve got a rock and a rock till our dying day.
I’m holding on to you holding on to me.
Maybe it’s all gone black but you’re all I see,
You’re all I see.”
May we hold on to the truth that God is holding on to us.
GOD DEFINES VICTORY
The world tells us that it doesn’t count unless we do it on our own. Are we believing this? Or are we believing in God’s truth? We need to stop being so easily convinced by the rule makers of the world who tell us what victory looks like. Doing something without help is not the rules of God’s game, that’s the world’s game. Let us allow God to propel us.
We so often refuse God’s outstretched hand. Perhaps it’s because we have convinced ourselves that his grip is painful and intrusive. But there truly is nothing more freeing, our grip is not what saves us, only the grace and grip of God will hold unshakable in the final shaking.
1. Apply these keys to hold on to GOD holding on to YOU:
- ZOOM OUT – In the midst of a crisis. Look at the constant message God has delivered over thousands of years through the prophets, the apostles and Jesus.
- APPLY THE JESUS FILTER – Look at everything God has done and said through the lens of Jesus. Being the ultimate revelation of God, Jesus sheds light on all of God’s other communication. God never contradicts himself. Read the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John to learn more about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
- TURN IT DOWN – Get into the right posture of hearing — clear the distractions. Turn down the music, give yourself space and time to hear from God, whether that is by prayer, reading the Scriptures, or by creating time in your schedule to worship and discuss Jesus in community. Join a Fellowship Group. We need to teach each other and practice together softening our hearts to the voice of God.
2. Converse about this topic with others:
- Does the concept of judgment (removing the shakable from the unshakable) seem foreign to your heart or eerily familiar?
- If this promised final “shaking” is coming, what does it mean about how we should live right now?
3. Reflect personally on the condition of your heart:
- Whose grip do you trust more–your own or God’s?
- Why are you hesitating to reach out and accept the outstretched hand of God?