READ EXODUS 24
God has promised His presence to His people – this is an extraordinary promise when we consider the ways He has met with them in the past and the reality of His call to build Him a tent, just like theirs.
But in our celebration of God’s condescension (His coming to His people), it can be easy to miss the way in which He calls His people. Though we have been reading Exodus 24 all week, we haven’t yet addressed the method of His call.
Let’s big-picture recap –
What is the content of God’s call? Put another way, what is He calling His people to do?
And what is the means of His call, or, in what way does He want them to obey?
God has called His people to build Him a dwelling place (content of the call), and we know that He has called them to do this by building the tabernacle or tent (the means of the call). Now, let’s consider the method of His call.
Re-read Exodus 24:1-2. What strikes you as surprising about these verses in relation to God’s promise of proximity to His people?
God is clear with Moses – the people are to come out, and Moses is to come near. The call to build the tabernacle, as we will see in more specifics next week, comes through God’s words to Moses on the mountain. But first – before God promises His presence to His people through Moses – there is a call: come out, and come here.
When God calls His people into His presence, He does so within the divine confines of His character. God is holy. And because we use this word “holy” often in our modern context, we can forget the root of its meaning. To be holy is to be “set apart.” It’s God’s way of telling His people that He is set apart from anything else. He is unique in His being. He is unlike them. And for sinful people, that holiness is both their greatest hope and most severe danger. And so, before He promises to come and be near them, He calls them out. He calls Moses to ascend to where He is. He calls them to be “set apart.”
All week, we have been asking the question: how does this reflect the Gospel? And here, in these few short verses, we have a resounding answer: God’s invitation into His presence comes through a call to be set apart. God does not throw open the door to His presence without care. He does not give up His holiness in order to be near them. No, He calls them to set themselves apart, just as He is set apart. Even as He comes in ways they can understand, living in a tent like theirs, He calls them to meet Him where He is. There are parameters around His presence. Why? Because … He is holy.
The way into God’s presence for you and me today is similar. God did not cast His holiness aside to make way for you and me to come near to Him. Instead, He paved a way to holiness for us. That way is Christ.
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God for making a way for you to be near Him through Christ. Praise Him for His holiness. Praise Him for His unchanging, unrelenting character.