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Thursday, 20 May 2021 00:00
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Exodus 24:12-18

This scene reminds me a bit of the story of Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.  The difference is that Moses, of his own accord, walked straight into the “devouring fire.”  Rather than being thrown into the flames by King Nebuchadnezzar, he was invited into them by God. It’s like he jumped off the edge of a volcano into spewing molten lava.  No wonder the people of Israel thought he must have died when he didn’t show up again for many days.

But he hadn’t died.  What he had done was enter the terrifyingly glorious presence of Yahweh, the one, true God.

That’s not to say that Moses himself hadn’t done this with some apprehension.  Of this same scene, the author of Hebrews wrote: “Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear’’ (Hebrews 12:22).  Facing his own trepidation, Moses went to God on behalf of the people, who were petrified by the blazing appearance, thunderous voice, and holy command of God.

The author of Hebrews went on to write that we who are followers of Jesus Christ do not approach God this way.  We don’t come to “a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them”(Hebrews 12:18-19).  

Instead, we “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).  

This is an altogether more inviting picture.  And it is made possible because Jesus, like Moses, went ahead of us into the presence of God.  Not only did Jesus go into the Father’s presence, He made a way for us to do the same.  Jesus did this by dying in our place for us, resurrecting triumphantly over death, and then ascending to the Father’s side.  His “sprinkled blood” covers us, washes away our guilt and shame, and makes us worthy to confidently follow the trail he pioneered into God’s presence.

But don’t think that God has changed.  The author of Hebrews warned his readers not to reject this offer of grace...“for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).  He is worthy of all our respect, our reverent worship, and our lives.

Let’s fear God and cling to Jesus, following him with confident faith into God’s presence. 


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