Monday, February 15, 2010

Daily Bible Reading - February 15 - Oh That Will Be Glory for Me

Today's reading included the sad story of Israel's failure at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32-34). There is an old cliche that it getting Israel out of Egypt was not nearly as difficult as getting Egypt out of Israel. The people had undoubtedly been influenced by the pagan practices of the Egyptians in whose land they served for hundreds of years, and it was a long time before that influence was stamped out completely.

But today's reading is also about glory. "Please show me your glory," Moses asked of God in Ex. 33:18. And the Lord acquiesced - although in a muted manner. Moses saw only the "back" of God's glory from the safety of the cleft of the rock. Yet even this indirect vision of God's glory was so profound that Moses himself gleamed with the residue of God's glory, which terrified Aaron and the rest of Israel (34:29-30). In order for Moses to speak to the people, he had to put on a veil to shield them from the radiance of this glory (34:34), almost in the same way there would be a veil that separated the people from the glory of God in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle (cf. 40:34).

If that indirect view of God's glory was so awesome, imagine what other visions must have been like, such as Isaiah's vision of God in His heavenly temple in Isaiah 6, or the disciples' vision of the transfigured Jesus on the mount in Matthew 17. Incidentally, the prophet and the apostles were afraid when they saw God's glory, just as Israel had been. God's glory is beautiful and fearful all at the same time.

God's glory is also something we have to look forward to as believers. As Paul wrote in today's New Testament reading, Christ "will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Philippians 3:21). Our reward is a new body, a glorious body like Christ's (Rom. 8:17; 1 Cor. 15:43). Perhaps this is the reason that in the new heavens and earth we will not need to hide in the cleft of a rock, or be shielded from God's presence by a veil. "When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).

No comments:

Post a Comment