Thursday, April 24, 2008

God's Self-Revealing

I'm in my final Old Testament class now and I'm not finding it all that easy. We spent some time today thinking about the development of thought in OT studies. Didn't really get me excited. Can't really see how the journey to decide that we need to see "the big picture" was missed for centuries. Be still my beating heart! Sorry, theologians! I'm sure it's a very exciting topic but my mind was wandering to other things namely the experimental 2 hour unseen exam. We're the lab rats for University of Aberdeen. :::mutter mutter:::: I feel strongly about exams because I mark them for 5th year pupils. Some specimen questions help prepare the way.

The lecturer is a Hebrew scholar - an outstanding guy, in his 38th year of teaching. He speaks about 7 languages, so I'm told. There have been lots of references to translation problems and to Hebrew grammar and I'm Not Getting It. I did very well previous years' OT studies but I'm suspecting that will not be the case with this one.

However, on another point, I had a brilliant time with my OT passage for today. At 8.30am, alone in my car, I experienced the presence of God as "the Scriptures opened up before me".. dear Holy Spirit, I love that illumination thing you do - why do I always laugh or cry? I can't remain impassioned. It's just so.......REAL...that you speak/direct/chastise/encourage....or whatever we need....

These words speak to me of a tender, intimate, loving Father who simultaneously is mighty, awesome, to be feared. I really love him and I just can't ever forget his faithfulness to me from childhood to today.

Exodus 33
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way."

When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.' " So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend....Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favour with me.' If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you. Remember that this nation is your people."
The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"
And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."

How would you apply those last five words to your context?


  1. I think often we forget to ask God to show us his glory and make his presence known to us. At times in life I've prayed the prayer: if your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here... But often we simply assume God is with us. This is not a bad thing, in the sense that we have faith he is always with us, but I think we can lose that interaction of having God 'speak to us as a friend'. God is with me, but at the same time there is great power in the prayer 'may your presence go with me'.

  2. Thanks for your comments Lucy.
    Two days after I wrote this, I asked God to show me his glory and I was transfixed in his presence; absolutely wrecked,I just didn't want to leave; I was tingling all over, especially around my mouth. All I could whisper was: I want your presence, God.

    I have experienced this a few times before and it always marks a significant, if not difficult, season. But I am so glad of the tiniest reminder of what he is like. It simply is the most beautiful, tender piece of narrative, thinking of the awesome God giving Moses a safe place to shelter as his glory passed by.

    Bless you this week!

  3. I love moments like that. Feeling completely overwhelmed, hardly daring to breathe or move. Would it be weird to say that at times like that I can feel God on my skin? Like really, really good goosebumps! You just don't want it to end.


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