“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.’ ” Exodus 19:10-11
Two days ago we considered God’s expressed desire to have for himself in the children of Israel as a kingdom of priests. It’s important to note, though, that this was a hope and plan that has never been fulfilled for him in the history of the world, either by the Jewish people or by the Christian Church.
At the time when God expressed this desire only Moses was permitted to approach God’s presence and even in that he wasn’t able to see God’s face or even the extent of his glory. The people in general weren’t even allowed to approach Mount Sinai, where God was enthroned, though on at least one occasion Moses, and Aaron, and the elders were called by God onto the mount where from a distance they saw God seated upon his throne.
The point I’m trying to make is this. God wanted all of Israel to be a kingdom of priests for him but they weren’t ready at that time. In fact, they, themselves, were in need of a priest to intercede on their behalf.
But what Moses had was not something that God wanted to be exclusively his. God desires that all of his people be able to draw near to him, to commune with him, and to know him.
But the people of Israel, as a nation, couldn’t. They weren’t ready even to approach the mountain God was dwelling on let alone God himself and there was a danger that in their immaturity of belief and understanding they’d rush in where they, as sinners, could not go and that many of them would die.
So God had them build a barrier between the camp and the mount to keep them apart. Then he called the people to approach the barrier and He descend the mount to them.
Today, God’s people still can’t physically approach God. Sometimes it feels like we’re held at a distance with our sins rising up like a giant barrier between us and Jesus. I’m comforted to realize that at this time when I’m incapable of getting any closer to God he, himself, is at that time drawing closer to me.
He understands my limitation, and yours, and he knows just how close he can come, and just how much of himself he can reveal.
There’s a great deal of work in us that needs to be done before Jude 24 is fulfilled and we’ll be ready to stand faultless before the presence of God’s glory. But as the apostle testifies, it’s God who makes us ready and he’s able, if we’ll let him, to do all that he promised.