Two things stand out in the verses. Hearing God is the first. The relative position of the people to God is the second. These two practices differentiate the boys and girls from the men and women till today. Let’s begin with the first: hearing God. Jesus says in John 10:27 that his sheep hears his voice and he knows them, and they follow him. This metaphor describes how we get divine directions: by hearing God! Isaiah had alluded earlier to this new testament practice in Isa.32:2. The people were so afraid that they said God should not talk to them anymore. Did you hear that? That was the open door for fake prophets to exploit. The second is directly related to the first. It takes closeness to hear from God. While Moses drew into the thick darkness, the people stood afar off. Its still true today. Very many do not enjoy spending time with God closely. They prefer a visit once a week for two hours at most, in a public place. God enjoys intimacy with us and looks forward to sharing life secrets, but the people stood afar off. God it was who initiated the visit in Exodus 19:9. God still had His coverings, but wanted fellowship. The people said, they din’t want it. What’s your attitude to God’s closeness? When was the last time you heard His voice. Would your daily actions be limiting your hearing? Are you standing close or afar off?
And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. Exodus 20:19, 21 KJV