“Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.” Exodus 24:9-11
As you read through the Old Testament narratives, I hope you will take some time to let your imagination lead you toward wonder and awe. Can you picture Moses, now eighty years old, leading his brother and seventy-two others up the side of God’s mountain topped by fire and smoke? What do you picture when you read the words, “and saw the God of Israel”? God is Spirit, as our Master declared (John 4:24), so what did they set their physical eyes on? And then there’s the pavement of celestial blue under His royal feet! They ate and drank in the very presence of God, yet He didn’t raise His hand to destroy them. He allowed them to remain.
This very much reminds me of the dilemma Queen Esther of Persia faced when she needed to present herself to King Xerxes on behalf of her people, the Jews. The law stated that she could not appear without invitation lest she forfeit her life. They only way she could escape certain death if she came without invitation was for the king to extend his scepter towards her in royal welcome and pardon. In the same way, the Cosmic Emperor allowed these mortals into His presence and allowed them to remain without any retribution.
I do not bring this to you as an exercise for your imagination, Disciple. I wanted to let this episode in the life of our faith ancestors serve as a wonderful glimpse at the even greater privilege we have as those who belong to the New Covenant. As I imagine those men on that mountain confronted with the unspeakable greatness and glory of God, my mind rushes to what our Master said as He explained the blessedness available to those who enter God’s kingdom.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
What a miraculous thing God promises to do in us that we should go from being people so unworthy to gaze upon Him to being those who are truly pure and holy, fit to live with and gaze upon Him for all eternity! Certainly Jesus’ declaration is fitting here: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God!” (Mark 10:27).
Practice looking on God by faith, with spiritual eyes, Disciple. Your eyes of flesh may never have the privilege that Moses and the others had that day on the mountain, but by faith you can always look to your Father – while eating, drinking, and everything else . You and I can do this because our Master Jesus has revealed our Father to us in a way no else ever could. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3). This is why we are before anything in our lives disciples of Jesus!
Living in His presence, eager to see His face,