Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Background: Wandering in the wilderness between slavery and redemption, the Hebrew people praised God and complained, obeyed God and disobeyed, and showed great faith and lack of faith. When asked to make the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting and Ark of the Covenant, which held the commandments God had given them through Moses, the people brought so many offerings that they had to be asked to stop giving!
After the elaborate Tabernacle had been completed, the people would stand and watch while Moses entered the tent and the pillar of cloud descended. As the LORD spoke to Moses, his whole countenance would shine with such a glow that he had to cover his face with a veil to keep from scaring the people!
Moses did not see the face of God, but he saw the glory of God when he prayed for the Holy Presence to stay close beside him and the people:
Then Moses said to the LORD, “Now, therefore, I pray that if I have found favor in Your sight, You will show me Your way so I might know You and find grace in Your sight. Remember, too, that this nation is Your people.”
“And God answered, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’
“Then Moses said to God, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from this place. For how will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight unless You go with us? We shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people on the face of the earth.’
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do what you have asked for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.’
“Then Moses prayed, ‘Please show me Your glory.’
“And God said, ‘I will make My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But you cannot see My face for no one can see Me and live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Stand here beside Me in this place on the rock, and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand,” Exodus 33:13-22.
Questions: In what way has the goodness of God passed before you, enabling you to see, hear, or feel your closeness to the Holy Presence? Have you found a church or synagogue where that Presence lifts you into praise and worship? What does the word of God that came through Moses and the Prophets and other spirit-filled writers mean to you? How would you describe the Glory of God?
Prayer: Dear LORD God and Heavenly Father, as Pentecost approaches, we pray for You to draw close to us and help us to draw close to You. Empower and bless all of Your people with the coming of Your Holy Spirit on this holy day and season of Pentecost.
© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. If you share this with your church, synagogue, or Bible study group, please let everyone know where to find the site. For other articles and devotionals on Bible topics and various aspects of writing, follow postings on The Word Center or visit Blogs by Mary. Thanks.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Last time we talked about the healing power of confession and reconciliation, which is especially timely in the days before Passover and Easter. But some might wonder what the “good people” of God need to consider and confess.
While the entire Bible gives us guidelines that draw us closer to God, the Ten Commandments condense and highlight the areas most apt to pull us away.
“And God spoke these words, saying: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
‘You shall have no other gods but Me.
‘You shall not make an idol of any likeness of anything in heaven above or the earth beneath or the water under the earth.
‘You shall not bow down to worship or serve idols, for I the LORD your God am a passionate God, Who allows the sins of the parents to visit their children unto the third and fourth generation of them who hate me,
‘But showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless those who take the very name of God as a triviality.
‘Remember the Sabbath and treat the Sabbath rest as holy.
‘Six days shall you labor, and do all your work.
‘But the seventh day is the Sabbath rest of the LORD your God. In that rest you shall not do any work, nor shall your son or daughter, manservant or maidservant, or even your livestock and the stranger who stays with you.
‘For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them then rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath and made that rest holy.
‘Honor your father and mother so that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives to you.
‘You shall not murder anyone.
‘You shall not commit adultery.
‘You shall not steal.
‘You shall not bear false witness against anyone.
‘You shall not covet someone’s house, spouse, servant, livestock, or anything anyone owns’,” Exodus 20:1-17.
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai to deliver those words from God, thunder and lightning accompanied him. Terrified, the people backed away and, standing in fear, begged Moses:
“Speak to us, and we will listen, but oh, please do not let God speak to us, or we will die!” Exodus 20:19.
Thousands of years later, many people of God still feel that way! But Moses said to them – and to us:
“Do not be afraid! God has come to test (examine) you that you may be in awe of God and sin not,” Exodus 20:20.
Through Moses, our awesome God gave us a condensed guide to a godly life, and, even today – or perhaps, especially today – those Ten Commandments continue to examine us as we examine our lives, ourselves, and our motives in their holy light.
© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission. Thank you, and thank God for always letting us know what is expected of us.