“And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say, and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’” (Deuteronomy 5:24–27 ESV)
In verse 27, the people request a mediator because they feared the glory of the Lord; their reverence & fear is appropriate because man does not get to speak with the Almighty and live, unless He is merciful. The glory was too great for their souls to bear, this is reminiscent of Isaiah’s experience in the temple when he was struck with fear at the presence of the Lord (Isaiah 6:1-7). Most people lack this awe of the Almighty today. The people feared the voice of the Lord so greatly that that were content to have Moses listen to God and relay the message. It is ironic that they were so moved with fear of the living God then they quickly left Him and complained against Him as if He were like the impotent idols of Egypt.
God deems their assessment as true and right (v28), but the Sovereign, who is out side of time, laments: “Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 ESV). He knows the open rebellion that His people (and all people) will continue to walk in and the cost to buy back this rebellious lot.
God obliges the people and gives Moses His laws. The purpose of the law was to reflect His perfection, to restrain sinful behavior in the community, to reveal our sinful hearts and to point us to the perfect Fulfiller of the law. “You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.” God calls them to obey and He will protect & prosper them. Ultimately, we know, the people could not obey. Thankfully, Someone has obeyed on our behalf. (Deuteronomy 5:33 ESV).
Moses is a picture of the perfect Mediator (Hebrews 9:15 & 12:24) that was to come – One who would stand between us and a holy & perfect God to resolve the conflict the existed due to our openly rebellious hearts. We are not worthy, but He set His saving affections upon us anyway. This Mediator not just intercedes on your behalf, but He also gives you His perfect obedience to law so you can stop striving. The proclamation of the cross is “it is finished.”