Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Delight & Power of God's presence (Lev 8)

The High Priest Garment (Lev 8:6-9)
(8:33-36)…(Aaron and your sons) You must not leave the Tabernacle entrance for seven days, for that is when the ordination ceremony will be completed. 34 Everything we have done today was commanded by the Lord in order to purify you, making you right with him…If you fail to do this, you will die, for this is what the Lord has commanded.” 36 So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses….(9:15)-Next Aaron presented the offerings of the people. He slaughtered the people’s goat and presented it as an offering for their sin, just as he had first done with the offering for his own sin. …(9:22-24) 22After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them…and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. 24 Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.

I had a very good friend taken away from me a few years ago. He was funny, caring, could cook up a storm, simply a delight to be around. As I mourned his departure I realized something very startling, the thing I missed most about him was his presence. Nothing about what he did or even how he looked mattered, I wanted my friend back simply to be in his very presence....I simply longed to enjoy who he was as a person, leaving all the eternals aside...oh the delight and power of Presence.

Monica A. Coleman a professor at Claremond Graduate University says it well, " The ministry of presence asserts that there is power—divine power—in just showing up and sticking around. It suggests that the incarnation (word becoming flesh) is more important than the Word". Another person who understood the power of presence is Catholic Priest  Henri Nouwen, who expressed this ministry of presence with his world. This 2 minute video captures his words and his way of life.

Yes, the delight and power of Presence, is what the children of Israel experienced at this point of our story today, "Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground"

Before the Lord's presence was visible to Israel there were certain things that had to be done. The High Priest Aaron and his sons had to be ordained and made holy (set apart for God) to represent the people before God. As we learnt before, we cannot enter into the very presence of our Holy God without getting rid of all our sin. God's provision for that, at this time, was in the offerings of animals and using their blood to cover sin. So reading Lev 8 we see the process of making the High priest, Aaron and his sons, holy before God. It involved an elaborate process of wearing the right garment (1-10), anointing oil sprinkled (10-13), the blood of bulls being sprinkled (14-17), the rams as gift and ordination offerings (18-24), the cakes of bread (25-29), then the blood being sprinkled on them (30-32). Lastly the order to stay seven days in the entrance of the Tabernacle (33-36), there they stayed with God I am assuming. After this they are made Holy (set apart for God), they are not the same.

Aaron and his sons after spending that time in God's presence, make the sacrifice, making Israel holy before God, and as all the people are holy, Aaron has the power and authority to bless the people, "Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them". Then the Lord Himself offers His people the greatest blessing of all, the joy and power of His visible presence seen in the fire, "Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering". The people saw it and were glad, just like they had been in Exodus (Exo 40), "God with us" they must have cried as they bowed down to the ground. This display of God's presence, I assume,  gave them a confidence that God was pleased with them, that he loved them enough to show up, that He would take care of them, and direct them. God showing up visibly allowed Israel once again to be reminded that they were not alone, they were special, set apart as a people for God. I think maybe just like my desire to be in the presence of my friend, they longed to continuously be in the very visible presence of God.

God answered that desire many years after by sending another High Priest, who was to be like Aaron but better, Who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice, and still stands in the temple at the right hand of God representing us before God. For those who have believed in Him, He left them with his Spirit, sealed in their hearts. So that they will be in the very presence of God always, gleaning power and delight from Him, yes Jesus Christ our great High Priest forever (Heb 7:28). In the New Testament the book of Hebrews gives a beautiful display of how we too like Israel can enjoy the very presence of God through our forever High Priest Jesus Christ. Hebrews says this about Jesus Christ,

(2:17) Therefore, it was necessary for him (Christ Jesus) to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

(4:14-15)[ Christ Is Our High Priest ] So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

(5:4-5) And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.”

(5:9-10)In this way, God qualified him (Christ Jesus) as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek

(6:20) Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

(7:26-27) He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.

(10:20-22)20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

So these scriptures make us understand that, we too can experience the delight and power of being in the presence of God, as Israel was comforted with joy in His presence then, we now are comforted by His presence through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus blood we are made right with God and able to enjoy His presence by The Spirit.  As we enjoy God's presence, I encourage us to practice also being present in the lives of others (John 13:35). As you carry The Spirit of God in you, you bring life to others when you are actively present in their lives...can you be more intentional about this?...for in so doing we experience and provide true comfort for the soul...until next always Read, Share and be Comforted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

My Testimony