Day #149: Daily Bible Reading Plan - May 26th
Scripture Reading: Exodus 33 - 36 ...
Maybe I'm not normal ... whatever that means. Reading about Moses meeting with God and the plans for the tabernacle makes me think about meeting with God at some time in the future. Most would probably say it's not something they think about too often, but it's something I think about a lot - probably every day at some point. It's not as though I am thinking about dying tomorrow or even in the near future, but meeting with God would be quite an amazing privilege, wouldn't it? Those who met with God or who "saw" God's glory were often frightened and astounded by what they saw. It was no casual event. I don't think of it as such either.
But some do. God is an "it" to most people ... or a "thing" ... God is who you want Him to be or who you make Him to be. That's what Satan wants you to believe and millions, even billions, are deceived. The idea that there is only ONE God is scorned by most, even those who claim to be Christians, followers of Jesus. I am continually disgusted by those who write in our local Grand Rapids newspaper about tolerance and interfaith "respect." These are concerned about respecting the religious beliefs of others, meanwhile utterly and totally disrespecting the One true God who created them and who gave life. HE alone is worthy of praise!
It was for that reason that God instructed Moses and the people of Israel to build the tabernacle - a place where God would "meet with" His people. At the beginning of Chapter 33 God tells Moses to leave Mt. Sinai and to "go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (33:1). Then God said a surprising thing. He told them HE was not going with them! God was angry with them and said if He went with them He might destroy them along the way. But here's the beautiful part ... another picture of Jesus: Moses set up a tent outside the camp and there HE would meet with God. "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with His friend" (33:11). And as Moses met with God and interceded for the people, the LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (33:14).
Moses said to God, "Show me Your glory!" (33:18). And God showed Moses his "back" ... This whole chapter is an intimate picture of God's relationship with Moses, but in Christ, it is also a picture of God's relationship with US, as believers in Jesus. God gave Moses detailed instructions for the tabernacle and said, "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world" (34:10). The people were to come before God with offerings. "No one is to appear before Me empty-handed" (34:20). God promised to drive out the nations before them and to enlarge their territory. "Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water!" (34:28).
Then, when Moses came down from the mountain after forty more days, he was not aware that his face was radiant. Imagine meeting with God! The glory of God reflected off of Moses even after he was no longer in His presence. Pictures - pictures of an intimacy with God that sounds far beyond what you and I can possibly comprehend. The tabernacle was a sign, a symbol, of this intimacy. God was making a covenant with Moses and renewing His covenant with Israel. These were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and as such, were outwardly the people of GOD!
When God called them to give to the building of the tabernacle, they brought so much of the spoils they had brought from Egypt that the workers told Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done" (36:5). So Moses sent an order throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary" (36:6). "And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work" (36:6-7).
A tent of meeting ... Moses speaking with God face-to-face ... the tabernacle ... the covenant ... the promises ... God WANTS to meet with His people, but SIN stands in the way. For another 1400 years the only way the people could approach God was to bring sacrifices and offerings to the tabernacle, then the temple. They could come only through the priests and they had to come this way because otherwise God's anger would break out against them and they would ... quite literally, die. No one can approach the true God. God had chosen to reveal Himself to Moses, but Moses, too, needed a sacrifice, a Mediator, One to stand between him and God.
He would come later and His name would be JESUS! The eternal Son of God came in the flesh to pay our penalty for sin ... and yet people, even people who claim to believe in Jesus, say that you can believe in any "god" and worship GOD in any way, in any name. They think they can believe in Jesus and "respect" other religions, but there's more to it than that. Christianity IS the ONLY true religion because it reveals the ONLY way to meet with God! When I think of meeting with God, Jesus is always in my thoughts. He is my Savior, my Mediator, my High Priest and, amazingly, my FRIEND! That's right, Jesus is the Friend of sinners just like me and like you.
There is no other way to come to God, to meet with God, to worship God, to live with God than to come to Him through faith in Jesus. All those who worship other gods, all those who want to ignore God's covenant with Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all those who want to tolerate lies and disrespect God, while claiming to respect others ... all those will meet God one day, but they will then be sent away from His presence forever because, like so many in Israel, they are a stubborn and stiff-necked people who refuse to come to God in the only way He allows: through Jesus.
I still think of meeting with God. By faith in Jesus you and I can begin to do that now. We can set our minds on things above and we can pray in Jesus' name and know that God hears us. We can read His Word and His Spirit speaks to us through it. And we who believe will one day stand before God ... without fear, covered by the blood of Jesus, and we will behold Him as He is ... in all of His glory ... face-to-face. THAT's what I think about and look forward to every day. That's what makes life worth living as I live it one day at a time for Him. He has blessed me with a wife and children and grandchildren and I love them and many other people. But when the time comes ... I'll be ready to meet with God because Jesus has made a way!!!!
"My Father in heaven, I know that someday I will meet You face-to-face. Because Jesus, my Savior and Lord, is now seated at Your right hand, interceding for Me in Your perfect presence, I am confident that I will one day be there, too ... beholding Your glory and rejoicing as I worship You with the angels. Even now, I thank You for drawing me into an intimate relationship with You by faith and giving me hope, peace and joy in YOU!! I love You, LORD! In Jesus' name, Amen"