May 4, 2020
Exodus 19:9-15 (NIV)
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”
14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
The Word of the Day today is: consecrate.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.”
What does that word mean to you—consecrate? The Hebrew word is qadash and it means to set apart something or someone as holy unto the Lord. Why would God want the people to be consecrated? There is only one reason—because God is holy.
“Holy! Holy! Holy!,” roars the voices of the angels and the archangels and the Elders and the Living Creatures gathered around the throne of God. They never stop shouting, “Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory,” cried the six winged Seraphim, calling out to one another around the throne of God. (Isaiah 6:3)
“Holy! Holy! Holy!,” we sing, “Lord God Almighty . . . God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
“Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and Earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest,” declares the ancient rite spoken around the Lord’s Table all over the world.
God is holy. Yet we live in an age with such a thin and sentimental vision of God. If the Bible says anything about God, and it says many things, it says this: God is holy. How have we come to speak of and approach God so casually? There is only one explanation: We have lost sight of his truest nature, of the character which defines all his qualities—God is holy. God is love, to be sure, but the character and quality of his love is holiness. It is not just another wispy projection of human love. No, the love of God is holy love. It is of another order and comes from another place. The Spirit of God is called “The Comforter,” and yet we must be reminded he is called “The Holy Spirit” and he comes like a fire. God’s holiness burns with the blaze of ten thousand suns. Indeed, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
When is the last time you meditated on the holiness of God? It has been too long for me. Perhaps like you, I have awareness and understanding of the concept of the holiness of God, but is far from top of mind in my daily life. Upon reflection, my view of God tends to lean toward the more approachable and embracing features we see in Scripture. The problem with this is that when I lose immediate awareness of the holiness of God, approachable and embracing becomes, well, cozy. And it’s a short step from cozy to comfortable and from there, indulgent just kind of comes naturally.
This raises perhaps one of the most pressing calls we are beginning to hear across the church today—the call to repent. Repentance is the birth pangs of awakening. Could we be in the early stages of an awakening? Awakening comes from God and yet it moves forward on the rails of repentant souls.
Repentance is the decisive response of a humble soul becoming aware of the presence of a holy God. This is what it means to become consecrated. Repentance begins with changing our posture before God; getting into another sightline, that we might “see the Lord anew and afresh.”
Let me close on a very practical note. I have a colleague who has what he calls his “Jesus Chair.” It is comfy oversize leather chair where he has his devotions. I have one too. I suppose they are OK. I think, though, we might consider a fresh consecration in order now. As a starting place, it might look like leaving our “Jesus Chairs” and finding a place on the floor, on our knees, or even completely prostrate; perhaps joining the chorus of Heaven, “Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God Almighty; who was, and is, and is to come.”
Yes, the Word of the Day today is: Consecrate.
Father, I want to break free from the easy cadence of the expected prayer. I want to repent. I want to shift from my cozy prayer easy chair and onto the humility of the floor. Consecrate me, Lord Jesus. I open myself to the Holy Spirit that you might fill me with a spirit of repentance; not thin behavior modification, not self shaming, not more bland moralism; but the repentance of the heart. I know it must begin with the awareness and growing appreciation of your holiness. Holy! Holy! Holy! are you, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” I offer myself to you in fresh consecration. In Jesus name. Amen.
Are you open and willing to shift the gears of your soul into a season of consecration? Will you inquire of the Lord what repentance might look like in your life?
For the Awakening,