Exodus 19 : 10 - 13, Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain." NKJV
Before we proceed, let’s digress for a moment and look at the reason why God is setting boundaries at the base of Mount Sinai. Why would God call Moses and the children of Israel out of the Egypt, to come and worship Him as their God, if He is going to keep them at a distance?
The Jews have been in captivity over four hundred years. While they were in Egypt, the Egyptians had a great impact upon their lives. We see just how influential the Egyptians were upon the Jews in Exodus 32. Moses is upon the mountain with God; meanwhile, Aaron instructs the people to bring their precious metals, so that he could fashion a molten calf for the people to worship it as their Lord.
This same mindset is just as prevalent in today’s society. Whenever the Lord draws a sinner by the Holy Spirit out of the ways of the world, they have a perception of who God is based on their earthly experiences and on hearsay, not according to the Word. Consequently, God instructed Moses to set barriers at the base of the mountain to teach the children of Israel, and us, how to respect boundaries. The boundaries that God instituted were not intended to keep the people out, so that they couldn’t get to know God; He ordained them for the “protection” of the people. God didn’t want them to touch the mountain and die.
Later, in Exodus 20, God handed down the Law, which set other barriers in place. This time the barriers were to be placed in their hearts and not at the bottom of a mountain... in order to teach Israel about protection from sin. God gave Israel the Law, so they wouldn’t go beyond the safety (boundary) of the Law and perish in their sin. Just as God warned Moses about the consequences that would occur if anyone should touch His holy hill, God used the Law to set boundaries and to teach the people that there would be severe repercussions for violating His Law.
Whenever God has to set boundaries in our lives, it is always for our protection. God has promised us in Psalm 84 that no good thing will He withhold (boundary) from them who walk uprightly. The Lord God had to teach Israel how to fear and how to have respect for the boundaries that He put in place; He did this because He loved them.
The God of the Bible is the God of liberty. He didn’t call us into bondage to Him; rather He called us to serve Him from a willing heart. When we come to Him, and we begin to learn of His ways, God will give us the grace to cover our mistakes when we “step across the line” out of ignorance. Afterwards, He will, likewise, deal with our hearts through His Spirit and warn us about crossing the line of His protection from sin.
After the warning, if we should, once again, violate His boundaries and abuse our liberty within God’s parameters, then He will have to bring correction into our lives to teach us to fear Him and to avoid sin.
Finally, when God called the children of Israel to meet Him at Mount Sinai, it was for the purpose of teaching them both the fear of the Lord and boundaries, so that they could live a free, but disciplined life, as the people of God. Every believer has unseen barriers that God has set in his or her life. He wants to keep us from entering temptation. If it was good for us, then He would allow it. Do you know your boundaries? Do you respect the boundaries that God has set, and do you choose to live within His will?
Finding Liberty within the Boundaries,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery