Friday, February 8, 2013

The Dangerous Presence of God

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, February 8, 2013:  Exodus 28:1-43

Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out, so that he will not die.  Exodus 28:35 (NIV)

Right in the middle of a rather boring wardrobe list, we find the words, "so that he will not die!" Priesthood suddenly becomes a high risk occupation -- somewhat like lion trainer or test pilot. That will wake you up!  How is it possible that one of the good guys (a priest) could actually die while serving God?

In our New Testament emphasis on the love and gentleness of God, we have at times forgotten that this is a God who can be dangerous.  Too often we see only the domesticated, politically correct side of God and don’t look at Him as He truly is in all His glory throughout Scripture.

Why would a priest die in the course of fulfilling his duties?  Who killed him and why?  The answer is clear.  God’s love can care for us, but His holiness can kill us!  God is not only a God of love and grace, He is also full of justice and holiness. The God who comes down at Sinai is also the God that is continually warning Israel not to get too close, because if they do they could be incinerated in the heat of His presence (see Exodus 19:20-24).

Paul beckons us to “consider the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22).  He is a God who loves us dearly yet cannot allow us to remain in our sin.  That sin MUST be judged – incinerated.  That’s why His presence is so dangerous.

It is in this light that words of Hebrews become so precious to us.  Because of Jesus, our Mediator, we no longer need to be afraid of dying by God’s presence.  Instead, we have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus!” (Heb. 10:19)  A new and living way has been opened for us so that we have direct access to the most Holy Place in the universe.

But, in our “boldness” we have often forgotten the price paid for our access.  We have forgotten the dangerous presence of God.  In so doing, we have become casual before the Almighty.  Perhaps we need a dose of the reverent fear of God.  In our intimacy and love for God, we must remember that He is dangerous.  We ought to dress properly when we come before Him.  Of course, I am not speaking of your physical garb.  I am referring to the robes of Christ’s righteousness that we put on by faith.

In the wonderful allegory by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the children ask Mr. Beaver about the Lion named Aslan.  Aslan, in this story, represents God.  “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”   Consider the GOODNESS and SEVERITY of God.

1 comment:

  1. So true, Bob...we sometimes forget the price of our righteousness and do not reverence Him with a holy fear. Wonderful Word! Thank you! Dee