The Mountain of God’s Presence; Our Journey of Ascent
By, Blake Barbera
This morning I was in Exodus 25-31; Moses on Mt. Sinai in the presence of almighty God, receiving instructions from the Lord regarding the ark, the tent of meeting, the sacrifices, the priesthood, etc. Two things stood out to me. First, one of the reasons God clearly delineates his holiness is because he desperately wants us to realize that he is not like us. God is altogether different, and this holy divergence should leave us in reverent awe of him. (For those familiar with the story, while Moses was on the mountain learning about God’s holiness for 40 days, the Israelites were down in the valley acting, well, less than holy.) Second, God’s commandments were given, at least in part, to help us distinguish holy from unholy. They are for our good. This is evident in the fact that the Lord’s last command to Moses in Exodus 31 was about the Sabbath, which he said was to be a perpetual reminder “that I, the Lord, sanctify you” (31:13). It is a reminder that the Lord always gives refreshment to his people (31:17). He always has our good in mind; our restoration and wholeness.
· God is holy and should be reverenced.
· He always has our good in mind.
Align this with the “forever sabbath” God’s people now enjoy in Christ (Heb 4:9). Every day that we cease from our works (Heb 4:10) and depend on his Holy Spirit to guide, guard, and govern us, we are reminded that he, the LORD, sanctifies us – not the other way around. It is not up to us to make ourselves holy so that we can live in his presence. He has done, is doing, and will complete the work of our sanctification as we learn to live in his unceasing, everlasting rest. Thus, the Holy God, worthy of our awe, reverence, love, fear, and worship, comes closer and closer to us. Not because he’s come down from the mountain to join us in the valley, but because he’s lifted us out of the valley, leading us higher and higher up the mountain of his presence, transforming us into his image with each rising step.