Tuesday, October 22, 2013
By Brenda Black
Glimpses of God's glory filter into our earthly realm. A sunset, a shooting star, the eye of a hurricane or the plumage of an exotic bird leave a soul wondering who painted that, projected that, placed his finger in the middle of that or plucked colors from a rainbow and affixed it to the back of a simple creature. God's glory is all around. Often displayed. Seldom acknowledged. Always breathtaking if we stop and take notice. And in the midst of it all, is holiness.
Moses saw holiness on Mount Sinai when he requested of God, “Now show me your glory.” The Lord laid down the rules of engagement: “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23) Moses agreed to the rules for just a glimpse.
Isaiah who saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filling the temple also proclaimed, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord...” (Isaiah 6:1b, 8a) Isaiah cried in reverent fear “Woe to me! I am ruined!” (Ish. 6:5a) On trembling feet, he risked a holy encounter and aligned his will to his Holy God in order to walk in obedience and right next to the King of Kings.
Moses didn't miss it. Isaiah risked it. When Ezekiel saw God's glory, it knocked him to the ground!
“Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
“This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I
heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:25-28)
God's holiness may render His subjects speechless. And well it should! His presence is a consuming fire, yet, the same God who passed by Moses, and spoke directly to him and his fellow prophets, inhabits time and space today. And He wants to draw near to us, not frighten us away. We can enter His presence without fear of judgment only because of Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,” (Hebrews 10:19-20)
We hear Him speak through the revealed Word of God, and have every right and opportunity to pour over its pages and catch His radiant image in each line. We are beckoned into His holy presence. “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith...” (Heb. 10:22)
God longs for our fellowship, but make no mistake, He remains a holy and awesome God.
“...but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
“Such a high priest meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” (Heb. 7:24-26)
Glimpses of God's holiness can still be seen. We just have to look for them and long for the holy presence of the One who came to provide holy access. A personal appearance may be coming sooner than you think! Will you be able to stand or fall or kneel before the Holy God Almighty? There's only one way to be certain. Your holy access pass hangs by a nail on a cross.