Israel's Commendable Request
Deuteronomy 5:27
Go you near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak you to us all that the LORD our God shall speak to you…

I. IT BESPOKE JUST FEELINGS OF GOD'S TERRIBLE MAJESTY, AND THEIR OWN LITTLENESS. It was the beginning of a right acquaintance with Him. The meeting at Sinai was a corrective at once for profane indifference and self-righteous security; it exhibited what God was. They had hitherto heard of Him by the hearing of the ear, but then their eyes saw Him; they were abashed and trembled. Who among the listening myriads could harbour light thoughts of Him with that quaking mountain in their sight, and that voice rolling in their ears? Who among them but must have felt his self-importance annihilated in that blaze of glory, and the conviction filling all his soul, "that men could not be profitable unto God, nor was it any gain to Him that they made their ways perfect"? The majesty of Jehovah burst upon them in its true proportions and splendour. Was it any wonder that they removed and stood afar off? Was it not a proper feeling that led them to retire from the presence, fearful, submissive, and adoring?

II. It was further agreeable to God because IT BESPOKE A NEW FORMED CONVICTION OF THE STRICTNESS, DIGNITY, AND PURITY OF THE DIVINE LAW. The imperfect knowledge of God in which they had hitherto lived must have been attended with very false or defective notions concerning the requirements of the law and the measure of their own obedience. It is hard to say what their views upon the subject may have been, but it is not unwarrantable to suppose that they did not differ herein from their fellow sinners of all times, whose error it has always been to underrate the demands made on them, and to overrate their own payment of obedience. One thing is certain, that they have first discovered an unbending strictness in the law for which they were not prepared, a minute and severe exaction which astonished and confounded them. Before this, their ideas of obedience might have been lax — a few transgressions seeming of little importance; and provision, they might have thought, was made in the law for human weakness, so as to admit to the credit of the doers of the law all not stained with gross crimes or perverse immoralities. But a far better lesson was taught them when they were brought forth by Moses to meet with God: they learned that sin of any the smallest kind, in thought even, was a transgression of the law, and that every sin was capital. Commandment after commandment, as it came from God's voice, only confirmed their condemnation. Overcome with alarm, fearing lest each successive declaration of His will should be the reiteration of their doom, they took advantage of the first pause, and eagerly requested to be relieved from their most uncomfortable condition.

III. The chief propriety of the Israelites' request lay in this: that IT BESPOKE THEIR SENSE OF THE NECESSITY OF A MEDIATOR — of someone to go between them and the dread Majesty of Heaven. Conscious that their sins had separated them from their God, they desired one to be the channel of free, unrestrained communion with Him; one who, without the terrors of the Godhead, could make known the Divine will as he should receive commandment, and take back to the Eternal their submission and their requests. Accordingly, because they could not think of a better, they selected Moses for this office. But the wisdom of Jehovah knew better how to supply their need, and shortly after made known to them His intentions in this matter (Deuteronomy 18:15). You know that our Lord Jesus Christ gave ample proof that He was this prophet who should come into the world. He is the only one who can effectually mediate between guilty man and his offended God. Moses exceedingly feared; but Jesus cannot be disturbed by the awfulness of His own Godhead; yet He has veiled that Godhead in our human nature, that we may come with boldness to the throne of grace, no longer panic-struck by the sight of Sinai. He can best speak to us the things that God shall say, for He is in the Father, and the Father in Him. Such a Mediator God has given, according to His promise; and, because a sense of our need of a Saviour is the best preparation for accepting the Saviour, God approved the words in which the Israelites expressed such a sense.

(R. Henderson, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.

WEB: Go near, and hear all that Yahweh our God shall say: and tell us all that Yahweh our God shall tell you; and we will hear it, and do it."

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