‘And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.’
Again the people in the strength of their own resolution promise obedience. How little they knew themselves! Only those who are indwelt and possessed by the Holy Spirit can do what they promise. The covenant into which they entered with God was, however, ratified by the blood of victims slain beneath the mount. Yet, notwithstanding all, that covenant was destined to be broken and to be set aside, being superseded by a better, which does not depend on our obedience at all, but on the obedience of our Representative and Surety. The ‘new covenant, which is ordered in all things and sure!’ We, too, may ‘behold the glory of God,’ and may ‘eat and drink.’ There need be no discomposure or agitation in our proximity to Him. And well would it be if all our eating and drinking were carried on beneath the deep impression of His nearness. But there are circles within circles. Outside, the people; then the elders; then Joshua; but closest to God, in the very heart of the burning glory, Moses, the Man of God, the faithful servant.
The great fact that stands out in the text is that Moses spent forty days in solitary communion with God.
I. What is it to be alone with God?—(1) In order to be alone with God, we must do as Moses did—we must first get up high enough. Like him, we must go to the mount. If we reach the right standing-point, the converse with God is sure and easy. (2) We must not expect to be always there. Moses went twice, Elijah went once, Peter and James and John only once. (3) Solitude with God is the very opposite of being solitary. To make it there must be two things: we must be alone with God, and God must be alone with us.
II. What are we to do when we are alone with God?—(1) We must be still, hush the mind, and listen for voices. (2) We should cultivate a simple and silent prostration of heart before the majesty and beauty of Deity. (3) We may form plans on the mount, or lay out the plans we have formed already. (4) We may go near to God at such times and hold communion with him, not familiarly, but lovingly and tenderly.
Rev. James Vaughan.
‘ “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” That is what we want in order to see God—a clean heart. And what joy there is in the vision! “They saw God,” says our Lesson, “and did eat and drink.” They found satisfaction and joy in feeling near to God. And so there is no happiness like that of knowing God as our Friend and Father, and living close to Him. Two little fellows travelled hundreds of miles in Australia just to catch a glimpse of the Prince and Princess of Wales when they visited Sydney. Let us ask for the clean heart that we may know God better and love him better and live nearer to Him every day. That is the true secret of happiness—not wealth, not pleasure, but God. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy.” ’