Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
Exodus 34:29-30 (ESV)
It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
There’s something about the holiness of God that strikes fear in people, and we can’t quite grasp the magnitude of God’s holiness. Holiness, for our purposes, can be described as “set apart, or other-worldly.” A while ago, there used to be a popular phrase “Jesus is my homeboy.” Although Jesus is certainly our friend and we can approach Him freely because of His invitation to do so, we must realize that the holiness of God is still something to behold. There is something “other-worldly” about God that we cannot comprehend.
In Daniel 8:17, when an archangel Gabriel approaches Daniel, the holiness of the angel—not even the holiness of Jesus—causes him to fall prostrate on the floor. When Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord, he immediately says, “Woe is me, for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” In Revelation 1, when John sees a vision of Jesus, he falls at His feet like a dead man. God’s holiness strikes fear in people.
When Moses came down from speaking with God, his face lit up because of the holiness of God. I think if I were there with Aaron and the others, I would be freaked out too, especially because of what happened just before Moses went back up the mountain. So if you don’t remember, Moses was meeting with God on the mountain for quite some time, and the people asked Aaron to make a god for them, in which he crafts a golden calf. Moses is furious and instructs the sons of Levi to slaughter those that had committed this atrocious act of worshipping this golden calf, and three thousand of them were slaughtered that day. But I think the fear of the people goes beyond this fear of punishment—there is a certain fear when we come face to face with the holiness of God when we ourselves are muddled with sin and darkness. It’s a natural reaction.
I’m reminded of the story of Jesus and Peter (Luke 5). Jesus performs this incredible miracle that leaves Peter speechless. All Peter can say is this: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” It’s not the miracle that scares Peter; it’s the holiness of Jesus that frightens him. He recognizes his sinfulness in the face of the holiness of Jesus. But this is what Jesus says to Peter: “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” I think we have to hold this tension in the right manner. The holiness of God should strike a reverent fear in our life, so that we know that the grace of God is not to be taken lightly and nonchalantly. We know the punishment that was coming for us that was graciously taken by our Lord Jesus Christ. We must work out our salvation with this fear and trembling. However, we also don’t have to be afraid to enter into the presence of God. Because of the blood of Jesus, we have full access to our Father in Heaven and the fullness of His glory. Perhaps this is the radical middle of our approach to God – full of reverent fear, but unafraid to run into the arms of our Holy Father.
We are privileged to live in such a time like this. We have seen the full glory and holiness of God the Father through His son Jesus Christ. Our face too should shine with the residual glory of God, so to speak. May our lives be an awesome testimony to those around us – that it would strike an awe and wonder to the world we live in, bringing more and more to the saving knowledge of the good news of Christ.
Prayer: Father God, what a privilege to live in a time like this. What a privilege it is to know that You have come to make Yourself known to us in Your glory and splendor. May I live my life with this fear and trembling as I continue to be shaped by Your holiness, but may I also live with the confidence that I can run into Your loving arms. May the glory that resides in me cause my face to shine in the dark places of this world. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Samuel 1