Forever is a very long time. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 61 about a request: “Let me live forever in Your sanctuary.” This is not a simple request. This request is for a sinful man to spend forever with God, Holy God, in His presence.
Despite it not being a simple request, it is a request that can be met. There is a possibility for you and I to live forever in His sanctuary. To abide with Him, we must accept the Son. To abide with Him, we must have the desire. The Bible promises that when we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4).
Thankfully God sent His Son to pave the way for us to be able to come before God as unblemished spotless ones. Because of the blood of Christ, we are cleansed and we are righteous. We are called children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). The wages of sin is death, but we accept the free gift of God, eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). Forever we live in Your sanctuary!
“Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! Interlude” – Psalm 61:4 [NLT]
The song of Moses and Miriam is great. The Israelites were in awe over what the Lord did to lead them out of Egyptian slavery. This song was sung by Moses and the Israelites as an offering of praise and a declaration of the greatness of God.
The song is a holy song, one to honor God and lift up His great name. Verse 2 speaks of the Lord as one’s strength and song. In this verse, the Israelites declare that God is their strength and their song. The strength is easy to understand. We are weak; He is strong. They couldn’t escape the slavery of the Egyptians; however, God could lead them to freedom by His strength.
But what about the song? How is God our song? God is only your song is He is on your lips. This means you are forever praising Him. You are forever signing His praises and pointing to Him. Has He been your strength and your song? Have you praised His great name today?
“The LORD is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him–my father’s God, and I will exalt Him!” – Exodus 15:2 [NLT]
Could you look at God? Could you look right into His face? As Moses stands in the presence of God, facing the bush that would not be consumed by the fire, he hears someone speaking. The voice says that the ground ahead is holy; Moses had to remove his sandals. But this encounter does not end there.
The voice then reveals Who is speaking. He says, “I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses realizes he is in the presence of God, that he is encountering God, he covered his face. Why conceal his face from God? Fear of God. He was afraid to look at God.
This fear of God is not wrong. Each one of us should fear God. We are meant to fear God. Moses recognizes at that moment that he is a sinner standing before a holy God. Immediately he acknowledges that he is unworthy by hiding his face. At this point in the story, God shares with Moses the great plan to redeem His people. One of the awesome things we read is that God is going to use unqualified Moses to help His chosen people. Today, consider if you have had a true encounter of Jesus Christ. Have you turned and hid your face when before our holy God? Have you recognized your great need for Jesus Christ? We all need Jesus!
“’I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.” – Exodus 3:6 [NLT]
People many times say that God is hiding from them, that they cannot tell if He’s around. The truth is that God never moved—you did! Again and again, we read in the Bible of people who fall short, people who do not walk with God. A holy God cannot look sin in the face. Even so, God is gracious and merciful. Again and again, He forgives us. Each day we are offered the opportunity of a daily cleansing, a new day. It is through Jesus Christ alone that we are able to stand before the throne as white as snow.
In Zechariah 1, we read about a call to return to the Lord. Zechariah declares what the Lord says, “Return to me… and I will return to you.” It’s that simple. Don’t allow it to be complicated. Don’t allow people to put stumbling blocks between you and God. Don’t think His grace and mercy are for everyone but you. Return to Him and He will return to you.
Every day we have an opportunity to decide which road we will take. Every day we can move closer to Jesus or in the opposite direction. When we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, take time to reach out to Him. He’s already reaching out to you.
“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 1:3 [ESV]
When I came home with the groceries, I was excited to have an extra set of hands, along with my kiddos, to carry in the bags. Of course, just after I yelled, “Don’t break the eggs,” the bag that contained the eggs and bread was knocked over. Despite the kids trying to stop the fall, they were not quick enough. One egg broke.
Days later, I went to get out some of the eggs. The eggs that were closest to the broken egg (which was long gone) were all stuck in the egg container. Despite trying to remove them from the carrier, some of them didn’t seem to budge. I ended up having to tear apart some of the carrier just to get them out. I’m frugal—what can I say? They weren’t broken; it was because of the nearby broken egg that we had this situation.
Just as the broken egg spilled out over some of the neighboring eggs, so our sin can spill out and impact the lives of those around us. Often we think that going against what God intends will only impact us, yet we are terribly wrong. Again and again in the Bible, we read about not being yoked with foreigners. Why do we read this so much? If we are closely connected with those who are not followers of God, we will find ourselves drawn away. We stick with who we are around. When we hang around long enough with a person, we find that we begin to carry the consequences of their sin. Today, ask the Spirit to reveal anything or anyone stuck to your life. Be open to what you are shown. Remember, there are times you are the broken egg, and times you are the egg next to the broken egg.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 [ESV]
“Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.” – Joshua 23:6-7 [NASB]
“You are to be holy to Me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be Mine.” – Leviticus 20:26 [HCSB]
As I read through Genesis, I love to read about Abraham and Sarah and the promise God made to them. In Genesis 21, it states that the Lord visited Sarah. In verse 1, we read, “The LORD visited Sarah AS HE HAD SAID.” Then it continues, “And the LORD did to Sarah AS HE HAD PROMISED.”
We live in a world of brokenness, and this includes broken promises. We can so easily name handfuls of people who have let us down. I bet you are thinking of someone who didn’t do what they said they would do or what they promised. Who hasn’t been let down?
But things are different with God. We cannot (though so many try) define Him by our own human limitations and imperfections. He is perfect. He is holy. He is faithful. And He is a promise keeper. So as you are reading your Bible, remember this—that God keeps His promises. He does as He says. He does as He promises. His word is solid as a rock—His Word is Truth.
“The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised.” – Genesis 21:1 [ESV]
Moses was told to take off his sandals for he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Joshua was told to take off his sandals for he was standing on holy ground (Joshua 5:15). Holy means set apart or sacred. One of my favorite passages references Isaiah’s commission. Isaiah sees the Lord sitting on His throne and He is in complete awe and reverence as he hears the words, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.” He knows he is unclean. He knows he is undeserving.
It is important to approach God with fear and awe. The fear is not the fear we consider when we typically speak of fear. When Proverbs 1 speaks of the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom, it doesn’t mean we are frightened as we are when watching a horror movie. Fearing God means that you have a fear of disobeying and displeasing God which would result in judgment and a disconnection from Him. It is about reverence and submission. God is holy and exalted above all. It is approaching with humility.
Yes, the blood of Jesus has cleansed us and when we repent we are forgiven of our sins. Yes, the veil has been torn and we can approach God once again. But it is important that we still approach God with fear and awe. The song says you have a friend in Jesus, and you do, but that is to be treasured not stomped on. When you approach God in prayer, in church, wherever—don’t take it for granted. Focus on Him. Remember He is holy and you too are to be holy. May your heart be filled with a passion and desire to worship, to truly worship Him, with all that you have and all that you are, each and every day.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ’Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’” – Isaiah 6:1-5 [NIV]
As a mother, I remember the days when my children would eat something and get food all over their faces. I would get out the napkin, wet it and get their faces ready to see the world. Still today I check their faces before we leave just to be sure they are clean. And yes, I check mine as well.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet is standing before God and he immediately acknowledges that he is sinful. He understood that he could not stand before God filthy. God is holy. Then an angel takes a burning coal and touches Isaiah’s lips. The angel says, “Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out” (MSG).
If we accept Jesus and what He did for us, our guilt is gone – our sins are wiped out too. Through the blood of Jesus, we no longer live condemned, but we are made as white as snow. But we have to acknowledge that we are sinful. We have to acknowledge our unclean lips. Even after we repent and accept Christ into our lives, there is a need of daily repentance of our sins. The blood of Jesus wipes out each sin, but for each one, we must bow before the Lord and acknowledge our need for repentance.
“Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.” – Isaiah 6:5-6 [NLT]