Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Kneeling in the Assembly, Part I

Exodus 34:5-9) And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

This narrative in Exodus is rife with divine glory. At God’s command, Moses had prepared the second set of stone tablets, upon which God Himself would again inscribe the Ten Commandments of the Covenant. After Moses had ascended to the heights of Mount Sinai, the LORD descended to him in a cloud and stood there with him, declaring His own name, goodness, grace and justice.

Moses’ response to God’s self-revelation is worth noting. Although the greater part of God’s declaration concerned the covenant mercies that would spill down through a thousand generations, it did not induce Moses to “kick back and relax” in God’s presence. Rather, Moses “made haste” to bow his head toward the earth and worship God for His divine patience and longsuffering, and directly following to beg God’s pardon for Israel’s persistent stubbornness and sinfulness.

We who ascend weekly to the heights of Mount Zion would do well to imitate Moses’ example of reverence, humility and supplication. As God reveals Himself to us in the assembly, reminding us of His covenant law and reaffirming its attendant blessings and curses, we too, should make haste to bow ourselves before Him, confessing our sins and seeking the mercy that He has already sworn with an oath to give us in Christ.

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