I love those moments in life when you are just minding your own business, the mind mostly disengaged and then suddenly, WHAM! Something you hear or read slams you in between the eyes with the jolt of a 100-mile an hour fastball. It rocks you back on your heals as you struggle to figure out where it came from, why it hit you with such force, and why it resonated so true or important within you.
Just such an experience happened to me recently as I was reading my daughter's blog where she had written her “I Am” poem using the same format as the one I posted below. She is very gifted at painting pictures with words, but still I was not prepared for how the Lord was about use them that morning. One line in her poem read as follows, “I touch the eternal with gloves on my hands.” After finishing the poem, I went back and read that line again. Then a third and a fourth time. I could feel the Spirit saying “linger here for I have something to say to you about this.” Why did this line so grab my attention? As I continued to ponder that line, I heard the Spirit saying to me, “The reason that line stopped you is because that is what you do!” OK, I thought, but what do you mean? How do I “touch the eternal with gloves on?” Again I hear the Spirit whisper, “You are a God chaser and you desire the supernatural things of the Spirit, but you do so reservedly, and from a distance! Just one toe at a time, so you can cut and run if you’re not comfortable, or if you’re being taken somewhere you don’t understand, or are not yet prepared to go!”
Wow! I was stunned at what I had just heard. Where had that come from? I was just reading a blog, trying to catch up on things. I wasn’t expecting the Spirit to invade my day with such ardor. I knew what I was hearing in my Spirit was true. For I want to see, hear, and experience the supernatural things of God - but from a comfortable distance. I want to observe for a while before drawing too close. I want to be able to wrap my intellect around things before giving myself over to them.
The children of Israel had a similar problem as recorded in Ex. 20:18-19, 21 “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” The people stood at a distance, content just to hear what God said to them through Moses, for they feared what would happen to them if they were to enter the thickness of God's presence, and hear God's voice for themselves. They feared what would happen if they were to touch God with their “bare hands!”
Touching God under the old covenant was truly a risky thing to do. II Samuel 6 tells of a time when Israel was transporting the ark of God on a cart, (something they weren’t to do) and when the ark rocked when the oxen stumbled, Uzzah reach out his hand to steady the ark, (where the presence of God dwelled) and the instant he touched the ark he was struck dead.
When Moses asks to see God in Exodus 33, God says to him, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Tommy Tenney in his book “The God Chasers” paraphrases it this way, “Only dead men can see God.” So if I ever expect to see God, or touch the eternal with bare hands, I must be prepared to die! Die to self. Die to my pride and reputation. Die to having to understand and figure everything out with my mind. Jesus said it this way, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will saves his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) God’s Kingdom functions upside down from ours. In it, we lose what we try to save but we save what we surrender. In “The God Chasers” Tommy Tenney goes on to say, “It takes death to see Him and all I can say is, it’s a good day to die. The more I die the closer He gets. The God of Moses is willing to reveal himself to you but it’s not going to be a cheap blessing. You will have to lie down and die. He can only come close to you to the degree you are willing to die.”
Now I hope everyone understands that, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1) and “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves it is a gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8) We are not talking about a salvation issue here, however if we wish to see and experience God as Moses did, I believe that we must learn to “do” what Moses did; take our gloves off and touch the eternal “unreserved,” and “bare handed.” We must be bold enough to be like Moses and enter the thick clouds where God’s presence dwells, even when all others cower away. We must be prepared to lay our lives and reputations down, and say as queen Esther did, as she was about to enter the presence of the king unsolicited, “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16) Though the mountain of God appears to be enveloped in darkness, lightning, and thunder let us “draw near” for that is where God dwells. Thus it is worth the risk.
“Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4:16