In the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy the Ten Commandments are restated for a new generation. This generation had not been there when the Lord’s presence descended on the mountain in smoke and earthquakes. They were not the ones summoned by the trumpet and told to consecrate themselves and consecrate the mountain and then told to stay behind the barrier lest they see God and die. (Ex. 19:18-23) But they needed to learn the same lesson and be equally impressed with the authority of God.
So Moses tells them of how their fathers came to the mountain and heard the voice of the Almighty. (Deut. 5:23) When this happened they were so stunned by the power and holiness of God they were surprised that they had survived it saying, “we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he lives.” (Deut. 5:24)
Up until this time they did not have the proper impression of the power of God. Their fear overtook their faith and became afraid that hearing more of God’s voice would kill now kill the, although it hadn’t done so thus far. “Now then why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer, then we shall die, For who is there of all flesh, who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?” (Deut. 5:25,26)
If God had wanted them to die they would have already been dead. What God wanted from them, and from all, is for them to hear, heed and live. God did not want to kill them, or any. But sadly, many are lost for not listening to what His great voice says.