They Saw God...
Exodus 24:9-11 (NASV)
"Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank."
This is one of the many times found in the Bible when people saw God. On this day, God extended an invitation to seventy-four men to meet with Him on Mount Sinai. Moses wrote, "They saw God…" I am sure most of us would treasure the opportunity to see God with our physical eyes. I am equally confident that we would tremble at the realization of what the encounter would bring. What would it be like to meet with God face to face, behold His Glory, see Infinity personified? What would we experience, and see, and do, and ask? How would it change us and our vantage point on the earth? Everything within me cries out for a God-encounter such as this.
There are two interesting points to note in this passage of scripture. Firstly, Moses did not write about God's form or attributes, but simply of the place He was standing. Why not describe God? This would be the question every generation would want answered. And yet, the details of God's form is absent from the testimony. Instead, Moses expounded on the place God was standing and wrote, it "appeared to be pavement of Sapphire, as clear as the sky itself." It does seem fitting that God would be standing on Sapphire, being that it is one of the foundation stones in the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:19) But still the question remains, why not describe God? I think Moses was in awe of the beauty of the place of God's location. That particular place was not transformed for God. No, it was transfigured because of His nearness. The place of His manifest presence becomes Glorious because He is Glory incarnate. The meaning of the sapphire stage fascinated the physical and spiritual senses of Moses and the story had to be told. There was far greater revelation in the beauty of God's platform than Moses had literary ability to describe. But by depicting the affects God had on the physical mountain beneath His feet, Moses revealed a facet of God never before known by humanity.
Secondly, Moses noted that God did not kill his invited, but turned the event into a celebration; "… They saw God, and they ate and drank ". I have often wondered what it would be like to sit down and have a meal with God. All of us who have accepted Christ will have that opportunity one day. But I long for "dinner-with-God" experiences this side of heaven. For the Children of Israel it was a grand departure from viewing God as One who could not be seen without losing life itself. God presented himself on this epic day as One who was gracious and kind, who longed to be with His people. "...they saw God, and they ate and drank." This sounds like a celebration to me. A party even. This glorious invitation from God; to know Him in a manner they had never known Him before. God was revealing His nature, personality, His Glory. This was a day the Elders of Israel went far beyond knowing God as the Unapproachable One to the God who reveals Himself to all who will receive His invitation. That day each of the 74 men secured a personal relationship with Creator. How awesome it must have been!
Today, the invitation is extended to us all. We have full access to the Father through Jesus the Christ. I am climbing that proverbial "mountain" of God in order to know Him more. Come with me...Let's ascend together in discovery! It will be AWESOME!
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