Friday, June 2, 2017
We have three Scripture passages in today’s reading. The first is when Moses and the rest of the freed Israelite slaves reached Mt Sinai after escaping Egypt. They met with God at the base of the mountain:
On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. Exodus 19:16(NLT)
Next is from the Psalms; many years after the first meeting the people had transitioned from trembling at the sound of God’s thunder and lightning to rejoicing and trust:
We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 33:20-22(NLT)
The last Scripture helps us understand the transition from scared former slaves to rejoicing children of God:
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:14-17(NLT)
As new followers of this God with no name, the slaves, now-free, didn’t know what to expect when they met Him, up-close and personally-frightening! After all, thunder and flashes of lightning? Even my dog will run and hide under the bed when that happens! The Exodus account was when they first came to understand…He’s a big God; there ought to be a little trembling when you have a meeting with Yahweh!
The Psalm reading came much later in Israel’s history, after much success (and failure) in trying to follow God. They now had the understanding of what it means to be covenant people, God’s special chosen and loved ones. They now prayed for all of Yahweh’s being to surround them and hold them close. They now craved His presence and meeting with this thundering God now meant trusting and hope for the future.
And the fulfilment passage in Romans shows us the present and future for all who will desire to meet with God on God’s terms – we become children of His promises, heirs of the King, brothers and sisters of Jesus, and filled with His Holy Spirit.
We share in His glory; we also share in His sufferings. But in meeting with Him in worship, fellowship, suffering or victory, the thunder no longer unnerves us, and the lightning is now our friend. That is what it means to be led by the Spirit of God; we are no longer tossed and turned upside-down by anything.
This is a process…new believers approach God fearful of what might happen. Growing believers learn to trust and rejoice. Mature believers learn to rest with “Abba” their Father.
To be led by His Spirit is to trust in His goodness. It is to rejoice no matter what happens today because you’re resting firmly in Abba’s embrace.
So…ready for a day of rejoicing?