Have you ever had a moment or perhaps know someone where you/they had an encounter with God that was almost fearful because it was so vivid and real?
I have had many powerful encounters with God where I experienced conviction, peace, love, direction, or strength. However, a fearful encounter is what I would expect if God chose to reveal more physically his presence. Consider Moses…
Moses meets God. Exodus 3:1-15
- Holy ground surrounds the presence of God, thus a careful approach. (5)
- God reveals his compassion for a suffering Israel. (9-10)
- God reveals his name. (14-15)
The presence of God is revealed to Israel. Exodus 19:1-25
- God reveals his vision for a relationship and purpose for Israel. (5b-6)
- God gives purpose to the encounter between he and the people of Israel. (9)
- God outlines a process of preparing the people to encounter God. (10-11, 14-15)
- God gives the rules of engagement in regard to the people encountering God. (12-13)
- The fearfully awesome encounter with God. (16-25)
The perspective Israel’s encounter with God. Exodus 24:15-17
- The glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire. (17)
- The “glory” cloud from the Hebrew term shekinah literal meaning is “dwell” and is a term describing the awesome presence of God.
- Fire has a way of drawing you in due to its stunning beauty within and amazing power.
- Fire becomes fearsome when one’s vulnerability is realized.
- The Israelites would stand at a distance and be in awe of the display of God’s presence and power, but if it came too close they would be terrified.
- Ultimately, they were waiting to hear from the Lord, but not directly from him but from his messenger Moses.
God enables us to approach. Isaiah 6:1-8
- Clearly Isaiah beheld fully the throne room of God.
- Describing the attire of God—his robe.
- Describing the angels surrounding him—angels with six wings.
- Describing the words being declared by the angels: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
- Describing what he felt as the voices of the angels boomed with a decibel level that shook the floor and the walls.
- He got too close and realized he was unworthy of being there. (5)
- Unclean lips!
- Wonder if that is due to the power of the angels’ words?
- God provides a way for Isaiah to come to him—atonement! (6-7)
- Isaiah safely approaches and interacts with God. (8)
Three revelations from these texts.
- God’s presence is so holy and his power so intense that approaching him would be perilous due to our sinful state.
- God’s character of love is revealed by his plan to engage and rescue the people of Israel.
- God removes the peril of engaging him by providing atonement, thus lifting our head, because our confidence is in him. Psalm 3:3 “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Love Revealed, our mobilization emphasis series, sets us on a path of establishing who our God is, how God came to us to reveal great love, and what our response is to this phenomenal gift.