READ: Exodus 31-33, Psalm 28, Matthew 28, Acts 28
Too much of God’s presence and too little of God’s presence both destroy us. We are familiar with the absence of God’s presence being hellish (Ps. 28:1). We understand logically that even the wicked (in this life) benefit from a muted sense of His presence even as they deny His reality. We know that if God removed His presence from us, we would be in agony. We know that an angry God can come into the midst of a sinful camp or city and in one moment destroy everyone and everything (Exo. 33:5).
What we easily forget is that man can no less handle God’s goodness than they can His wrath. From my youth I have loved the hymn, “A Wonderful Savior Is Jesus My Lord.” The chorus rejoices, “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, that shadows a dry, thirsty land, He hideth my soul in the depth of His love, and covers me there with his hand.” Moses was covered by God’s hand, from God. From God’s goodness!
In Exodus 33 Moses asks to see God’s glory. God explains that His glory is His grace and mercy applied as He wills – outside of man’s consent (vv. 18-19). God then reveals His goodness to Moses, but only His “back” – protecting Moses from the full revelation of God’s goodness by hiding Moses in the cleft of the rock. If God would reveal to us all His goodness, we would explode. This reality is justification for heaven; the goodness of God is so great that for all eternity He can progressively reveal Himself and there is no end to His progressive revelation. The wonder of eternity is not endless time; it is the unending revelation of the goodness of God!
We must never lose the reverence by being protected from God by God. The blood of the Passover lamb protects us from the wrath of God. It was God’s destroying angel that saw the blood and passed over the guilty. The Israelites were no better than the Egyptians – they just had God insurance. Let us retain a wonder that the God who has every right to destroy us also makes a way for us to enter His presence.
Entering His presence, let us not forget that His goodness is so eternally great, that it too can destroy us. God will eternally progressively reveal His goodness to us. What joy this gives us for heaven!