Old Covenant: Under the old covenant, people responded to the holiness of God with awe and reverence. When Moses met the Lord, “he was afraid to look at God” . Years later, Moses longed to see God’s glory, but the Lord said, “You cannot see my face and live” . When the Philistines returned the ark to Israel, some men looked inside it and, as a result, the Lord struck down fifty thousand men . Here, in 2 Samuel 6, when the ark was returning to Jerusalem, one man merely touched it and God struck him down immediately: “And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, ‘How can the ark of the Lord come to me?’” . The nearer the prophet Ezekiel got to the throne, the less sure his words became: “Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face” .
Incarnation: Jesus embodies God’s holiness because he is God and has been with God from the beginning. This means that, when God acted under the old covenant, Jesus was right there with Him. This is why the Incarnation is a shocking miracle. In Christ, God effected self-disclosure. Our holy God, who told Moses that man could not see Him and live, became incarnate; people saw him and lived. Our holy God, who struck down a man for touching the ark and another fifty thousand for looking inside it, became incarnate; people spat upon him and lived. Our holy God, whose throne was so magnificent that Ezekiel failed to find words to describe it, became incarnate; he was born as a baby in a manger, not as a king on a throne.
Prayer: Lord, Under the old covenant, you demanded blood sacrifices to atone for our sin. In Christ, however, you became incarnate and allowed your own Son to be butchered on a cross. Forgive us for often taking your holiness for granted, for approaching your presence with too much casualness. Instill the fear of God in our hearts and couple it with a view of the cross of Christ, where your love and justice kiss. Amen.
 Exodus 3:6 |  Exodus 33:20 |  1 Samuel 6:20 |  2 Samuel 6:9 |  Ezekiel 1:28