Dude, that’s so uncool! People will laugh at you. No seriously dude, you can’t do that!
Exodus 19:6 ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ Interestingly this phrase from the Torah is repeated but this time in the New Testament. We read in 1 Peter 2:9: ‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.’
It will take us a lifetime to reflect and understand the deeper levels of meaning of the events at Mount Sinai. The people who witnessed the Shekinah (Manifested Divine Presence) were indeed privileged. The generation that was led out of Egypt experienced the most incredible miracles and yet they doubted. They moaned. They longed for Egypt.
It was during these dramatic events that the House of Yaakov entered into covenant or marriage with the Lord. They had to purify themselves and they said as recorded in Exodus 19:8 ‘Everything the Lord says, we will do.’ Our modern day version is ‘I do’ in other words, I agree to enter into this agreement. In Exodus 20:19: ‘Then they said to Moses, You speak with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’
In other words they wanted a go-between, an intermediary. They wanted the benefits of the agreement but they wanted Moses to draw closer on their behalf. Later the episode with the golden calf again raised the issue of people wanting a tangible form of god. They wanted to see something with their natural eyes and then bow down to it. Yet another form of go-between or representation.
But it did not stop there. Samuel the prophet had unfortunately failed to instil the fear of the Lord with his sons. This neglect on his part opened the door for bigger trouble. Samuel was then approached by the children of Israel to ‘make us a king’ so they can be on par with the surrounding nations. They wanted a commander to lead them in battle. But how could they forget the lessons learnt on the way from Egypt to the Land promised to them. Was it not abundantly clear that the Lord Himself fights these battles for them?
Exactly what were they asking for? They wanted hierarchy and they wanted to be like the people around them. In other words, they wanted to be told what to do. Also, they perceived the pagan cultures around them as somehow superior and felt that they wanted to be like them. They wanted to be everybody else! They did not want to be holy, which means to be set apart for a particular function. The Lord heard their request and immediately told Samuel that he needed to warn them how this king will treat them. This is recorded in 1 Sam 8:7 ‘And the Lord said to Samuel, Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’
Could it be that we still have this mindset with us to this day? All too often our understanding of the Kingdom of God is ‘institutional.’ This means that we have tremendous difficulty to separate God from a building with a steeple or huge auditorium. It’s as if we think that somehow, almost magically the Lord lives in that building. I remember as a child growing up in the Roman Catholic church wondering what goes on there at the back where the priest would get dressed before he emerges. I feared that room at the back and would never dare to go and look around there.
And so it has become almost problematic to be referred to as ‘Christian’ as it has come to mean so many things. We often preach traditions of men, a movement, an organisation, an experience instead of simply the Person Messiah and His Kingdom.
This we do in the midst of a consistent and deliberate message being broadcast to us that the occult is really cool. Just check how movies with these themes have increased exponentially: vampires (drinking blood etc) and things like witchcraft (e.g. zombies) and not to mention aliens. The appetite for these is simply growing and it is clear that a culture is being established to try and guide us as to what is acceptable and what not. And then we are to conclude: it’s cool, cause everybody’s doin’ it.
We need to be the salt of the earth! And to do so we will have to shake off the passivity and wake up from our slumber!
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