"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nearness in His heart

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I heard God's heart today.  As I read, I could feel His tender hope, His desire for His people, and His intention:  "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19)

He had carried them.  He had brought them out with His own hand... "I carried you"... these words are so personal, so very close.  And, yet, they cannot draw near.  He tells the leaders to keep the people from coming too close.  Put up a barrier! God insists. (Exodus 19:12,21) If they come too close it will destroy them... they will die.  He must protect the people from His power, His holiness, perfection and glory.  It would be just too much; His holy Presence would devour them.  So, He must hold them off.  

But... can you just hear His heart to bring them near.  In fact, He tells them how.  Just obey everything I say, God says.  Simple, right?  He gives them a simple IF---THEN statement.  If you obey, then you will be mine.  I will make you a kingdom of priests, holy and mine. 

As I read this in Exodus, I realized how very familiar these word felt.  Where, Lord, have I heard these words before?  Of course,...yes, I know... I have read these exact words before.

A simple google search for "priesthood in the New Testament" and here we are---yes, almost an exact repeat so many years later.  Those words:  a priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession... 

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

I just have to stop, be still, and read it again.  Once through. Twice.  Just take it in.  I stand amazed, once again.   God has done such a beautiful thing for us!

God's heart spoke it out in Exodus.  His desires expressed in Exodus now finalized and written about through Peter.  We couldn't accomplish it.  We want to... just like the Israelites who claimed, "We will do all you have asked" ...and then promptly didn't.  We just can't.  I can't.  Period. Full-stop. 

We couldn't accomplish it, so He did.  He did it for us.  He did it for me. 

A two way "if---then" clause and covenant.  He took care of both sides of the contract.  He fullfills the IF and He takes care of the THEN.  It is done. 

In this verse in 1 Peter, God is declaring this as done.  True.  Finito.  A finished reality.  You are...  He says. Once you were not...  and now you are... 

And, to top it off---with the help of google---I jumped over to Hebrews 4 and then to James 4. Because of Jesus, the head priest, we can boldly approach God's throne.  No more barrier.  No more warning.   No more holding-off.  ...quite the opposite, in fact.  Draw near, He says.  Come very, very close.  Be bold.  Walk right up and touch me!  Abide in me and I will abide IN you. 

I hear God's heart today...
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