This week’s parashah is one of the most pivotal in terms of human history. In this parashah, the Creator of the Universe begins to reveal Himself in a manner previously unknown to mankind. It is the pinnacle of the Exodus, and the very reason He delivered His people from Egypt. Hashem delivered the Children of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh in order to bring them to this moment. It was on Mount Sinai that the Lord called Moses and commissioned him to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. And now it was from Sinai that God would reveal Himself and His divine will to His people. His voice would be heard for the first time by an entire people. And for the first time He would call an entire people to Himself as a nation that would be set apart from all other nations on the face of the earth.
But in order for all of this to happen, Hashem had to set the stage to allow His people to hear His voice and accept the offer He would present to them. The specific thing He had to do for this to happen was to get the Israelites to trust in His messenger, his shaliach. Therefore, the Lord did great and mighty works through the hand of Moses so that they would fully realize he was indeed sent by Hashem:
Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses. (Exodus 14:31)
As the Israelites encamped at the base of Mount Sinai, the mountain was surrounded by various displays of the Divine Presence. Why? Because the Lord needed to remind the people to trust in His shaliach. He explained this to Moses:
Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever. (Exodus 19:9)