He Meets Us Here and Now
King of Kings, I celebrate You today. Your favor, love, and wonder-working power amaze me. I praise You!
Read Exodus 33:7-23
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Jehovah-Shammah is the Hebrew word meaning ‘the overflowing ever-present One.’ This name is the promise of a holy God dwelling in the midst of his people” (Larry Lea).
God’s presence is very precious. That God would not guarantee to lead these sinful people directly (3,15) was ultimately an even more devastating punishment for their apostasy than selective death or plague or the later loss of a whole generation’s hopes (Num. 14:20-23). “Why pray for safety on the roads,” someone asked me recently, “if God doesn’t always choose to protect us from our own or another’s folly?” The answer: prayer builds our relationship with this great God, and knowing him is more valuable than anything else!
The meeting tent (7) was outside the camp and accessible to Moses alone. It symbolized the people’s initial dependence on Moses for their interface with God. This intimacy is illustrated by the descending pillar of cloud which the people could only watch and marvel at. In contrast, when the tabernacle came, it was in the midst of the people and all would be invited to participate in preparing it and reverently enter all except the Holy of Holies.
Because of Jesus we have unfettered access to the majestic high God, yet we can neither presume on, nor take lightly, this privilege. If he treated us according to our sins we would be consumed and his presence would be more than we could bear (Heb. 12:29). Even Moses was granted only a careful rear view (23). Writer Annie Dillard has suggested that we take too lightly our approach to God in worship: “Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? … [W]e should all be wearing crash helmets.” It’s as if the ceremonies and liturgies given to us to celebrate God are clefts in the rock protecting us from the full light of his presence. But we value that presence. It is all we have.
God comes among us. We are accepted in Christ. Savor this unlikely but breathtaking relationship with him and with one another. Praise God for it.
Lord Jesus, I go into this day with the assurance that You will never leave me or forsake me. May I be aware of Your presence every moment.
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