Friday, October 23, 2015

Seeing God

God questions Job - Artist unknown
God questions Job - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 39:19-40:6

TO CHEW ON: "Then Job answered the Lord and said, 'Behold I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.'" Job 40:3-4

Here we see a Job quite unlike the cocky self-assured man who said, "I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him" - Job 31:37. What made the difference? Hearing God speak and being in His presence.

This reaction of Job's made me curious about how God's presence affected others. Here is a quick survey of how God's presence affected some people in the Bible:

  • For Hagar, fleeing from abusive Sarai after conceiving Ishmael by Abraham the "Angel of the Lord" was comfort and hope - Genesis 16:13.
  • For Jacob, after wrestling all night with a mysterious "Man" it was a physical disability and a blessing - Genesis 32:30.
  • For Aaron and Miriam it was a humbling rebuke at challenging the leadership of their brother Moses, who was intimate with God - Numbers 12:8.
  • For Israel it was the reputation of God living among them, striking terror in the soldiers of the surrounding nations - Numbers 14:14. (David calls the sight of God His refuge Psalm 141:8.)
  • For the elders of Israel and David it was an inexpressibly beautiful place and experience - Exodus 24:10; Psalm 27:4.
  • For Manoah and his wife it was the announcement of a baby and a new responsibility of raising Israel's leader Samson - Judges 13:1-23.
  • For Isaiah and Job it was a sense of unworthy sinfulness and self-loathing - Isaiah 6:5; Job 42:5 (along with our focus verses today).

Can we hope to see God face to face? Jesus said "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" - Matthew 5:8. One day in discussion with Jesus, Philip said, "'Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient for us.'" Jesus replied: "'He who has seen Me has seen the Father'" - John 14:9.

What does this say to us? My sense is that, like the earlier Job, we often don't have a clue about what an awesome, fearful, holy place God's presence really is judging by how blasé and casual we are about invoking and entering it. At the same time we have a clue in that we have Jesus. We can view His life in the Bible record and see the Father. And through His gift of salvation, we can be pure in heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, I struggle to put my mind around what I read about Your encounters with us humans in the Bible. Please give me a realistic, experiential understanding and awe about who You are and what it means to be in Your presence.  Amen. 

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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