Scripture Focus: Leviticus 9.4, 22-24
4 …For today the Lord will appear to you.’ ”
22 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down.
23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.
Reflection: Intimidating, Liberating Glory
By John Tillman
God’s glory can be intimidating.
The people had been too frightened to approach the God who appeared in glorious clouds on Sinai. They asked that this glorious God speak to them through Moses, not directly. Aaron had been too frightened to approach Moses when his face glowed after meeting with the Lord. God gave Moses only a glimpse of his glory, saying that Moses could not survive seeing God’s fully glorious face. But now at the dedication of the Tabernacle, came a unique and enlightening promise to all the people: “…the Lord will appear to you…”
After all of the liturgy, after all of the sacrifices, after all of the ceremony, after all of the rituals, after all the sacred foods, and the waiting, and the singing, and the performing of the actions prescribed…the people now can see the glory of the Lord.
If Moses saw only a glimpse, we can be sure that this “glory of God” which appeared to all the people was also just a portion of God’s full glorious presence. Even so, a shout burst from their lips. Even so, they fell on their faces in worship.
How much more so should we shout than they?
How much more so should we prostrate ourselves than they?
They beheld glory in a tabernacle built by their own human hands. They beheld a formless, glorious presence they still could not touch or speak with. John says, The Word “tabernacled” with us and we beheld his glory. (John 1.14) We have the accounts of those who touched with their hands and saw with their eyes the tender, loving, human tabernacle of Jesus.
If those, like John, “beheld his glory,” so may we. Blessed are we who have not seen with our eyes but believe in our hearts. We see the glory of God when we gaze in the face of Jesus. We begin this gaze in prayer. We focus on the details of his features in scripture. We follow where his actions lead by obedience.
Shouting for joy and falling facedown is the emotional posture of seeing the glory of the Lord. When we know the forgiveness of Jesus, God’s glory goes from intimidating to liberating, from terrifying to electrifying. When we fall at his feet, he will bid us rise. When we turn to him, he will send us to feed his sheep and be a light to the world.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Show us the light of your countenance, O God, and come to us. — Psalm 67.1
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle
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