God wanted something other than blood and smoke, buildings and citadels. He wanted justice, mercy, humility. He wanted what was invisible. He wanted their hearts—not the outside, but the inside. There is no way of exaggerating how strange a thought this was.
YHWH is not Baal the bull, not a storm god, after all. He controls the weather, since he is its Creator, but he is not in any of its elements; he does not belong to the special effects. He is in us, the still, small voice, the murmuring of personal conscience. For once, we are given a description of the Voice that has played the central role in all our narratives, and it sounds quite other than what we might expect.
There is no way around life and its sufferings. Our only choice is whether we will be consumed by the fire of our own heedless fears and passions or allow God to refine us in his fire and to shape us into a fitting instrument for his revelation, as he did Moshe.