Friday, October 20, 2017

Seeing and Eating

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up; and they saw the God of Israel... they saw God, and ate and drank. (Exodus 24:9–11)

The elders of Israel saw God on Sinai. The story doesn't tell us what He looked like, which seems to be the common theme. As far as I can tell, only Daniel (Daniel 7:9) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:26–28) describe what God looks like. Isaiah saw God in the temple (Isaiah 6:1–13), but he only describes the angels. Even the description in Revelation 4:1–7 only describes the One on the throne in vague terms, while it describes the creatures around the throne in detail.

But scripture tells us twice that the elders of Israel saw God on Sinai. I tell my Sunday school class, when Scripture repeats something, it's for a reason. The Spirit of God doesn't ramble on like I do, every word has a purpose. So Exodus 24 is emphasizing the point, that they saw God.

John 1:18 tells us, no one has seen God at any time. I take that to mean, not that no one has actually seen God, but no one has seen God completely. The story in Exodus 33:18–23, corroborates this: when Moses asks to see God's glory, he is denied. But he is allowed to see God's goodness.

(John 1:18 goes on to tell us that Christ has declared God. Perhaps that's why the two prophets called "son of man" (Ezekiel 2:1, Daniel 8:17) are allowed to describe God, while the rest are not. Certainly the Son of Man has declared Him (John 3:13).)

I think about Exodus 24 frequently when we're gathered to remember the Lord. We see that the elders of Israel are called to go apart from the camp (v. 1). They saw God (v. 9), they ate and drank (v. 11). We, too, are called to leave, to come into the Lord's presence, to see God, and to eat and drink (1 Corinthians 11:20–34). Of course it's our place to gaze on the glory of the Lord all through the week (2 Corinthians 3:18). We're not called to contemplate Him only once a week... but we are definitely called to gather together to eat and drink and remember Him.

I ask myself, do I really do that? When I gather in the little meeting hall here, I definitely eat and drink... but do I see God? Do I get a really good look at Christ?

Rodger reminded me that our eating and drinking is an announcement of the death of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:26), and that the death of the Lord is connected in Scripture with the end of everything here (Galatians 6:14). Do I allow myself to casually announce that, week after week, without really entering into what it means?

1 Corinthians 11:29 warns about eating and drinking without discerning. I'm not sure that's entirely the same thing, but it is all to easy to eat and drink without seeing first.

5 comments:

HandWrittenWord said...

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father...
(John 14:8-9)

Robert said...

“There is nothing more wonderful than the Lord’s Supper, and nothing the devil has more deadly hostility to: he has made it sacramental to many, and just remembrance of what Christ has done to others; he has sought to cloud all the depths and sweetness and beauty of it, as that by which the Lord rallies His own and brings Himself and His love and the love of God livingly before their affections. If our eyes were opened to see what the Supper is in the thought of the Lord it would bring us all together.”

Excerpt From
CAC V01 Outline of Genesis

HandWrittenWord said...

"If our eyes were opened to see what the Supper is in the thought of the Lord it would bring us all together.”

So very true.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit...
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

clumsy ox said...

The C. A. C. quote is a challenge to me: it's hard to wrap my mind around "more than just remembrance" while at the same time "less than sacrament."

Rodger Goertzen said...

So, to take our brother Coates' words, what do you think the Supper is in the mind of the Lord? What does it all involve and have in view?