Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
In 1944, C.S. Lewis spoke of our dangerous desire for exclusivity: “In all men’s lives… one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside.”
“Men tell themselves that it is a hardship to stay late at the office on some bit of important extra work. But it is not quite true. It is a terrible bore when old Fatty Smithson draws you aside and whispers, ‘Charles and I saw at once that you’ve got to be on this committee.’ A terrible bore… but how much more terrible if you were left out! It is tiring and unhealthy to lose your Saturday afternoons; but to have them free because you don’t matter, that is much worse.”
Throughout his life, Moses was in the inner ring of fellowship with God. He led God’s people out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. On Mount Sinai, the Lord would speak to Moses “face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” When God was angry with the grumbling Israelites, he almost started over with Moses only: “How long will these people treat me with contempt? … I will destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater.”
When Moses did not trust in God enough to honor him as holy in the sight of the Israelites, however, God denied his entry into Canaan and replaced him with Joshua: “After you have seen [Canaan from afar], you too will be gathered to your people … [for] you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy … Give [Joshua] some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.” Thus, God declared that no one—not even Moses—was immune from his justice, for his salvation was received by grace alone.
Lord, Thousands of years after Moses, Jesus left the inner ring of fellowship with the Father to redeem us. He laid down his life and was killed outside the camp. If we are in him, we receive your unmerited grace to enter the only inner ring that matters. Forgive us for prizing others’ opinions more than yours. Work in us to crave being in your inner ring so that we will receive your grace to enter the Promised Land. Amen.
Finding Our Way
Part 3 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org