“And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (32.38 )
This phrase always strikes me. It is the epitome of “one nation under God.” It is even more reason to believe and rejoice in the magnificence of God’s electing grace. There has never been a time when God was not planning to bring his people into his presence. It was never reactionary. Though all had turned their back to him and will all endure exile, God’s intention was always to regather his people in the end. This is a portrait of the living out of Romans 8.28.
“And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” (32.40b)
It is interesting that we see God doing the work to keep us from turning away. There are many who will argue that it is possible for a Christian to lose their salvation, but this does not seem to fit. If God places the fear of himself into our hearts in order to keep us from departing, then however could we? Could we overpower God or prevail over his purposes? It may be argued that it is just an influence that God exercises and that we can overcome that influence by our free will. How? Where is the reason for believing this? God had just said, “Is anything too hard for me?” (v.27b) and yet people would argue that fixing our will to not turn from him is just that, too hard. I am amazed how we do violence to God’s Word because it doesn’t appear to conform with our humanist philosophies. We take such great promises and tear them apart just to get our way (for now).
” . . . for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil.” (33.5b)
Ouch! Yet this is what I have to look forward to if evil becomes me. God makes no excuses about the fact that his presence cannot strive with sin and evil. This is a great fear that drives me to repentance and sanctification. I have tasted God, I have felt the goodness of his communion. I no longer want to go back. Not to the emptiness before he was there.
“I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me.” (33.8a)
That’s how. When people ask, “How can I get over my guilt?”, that’s how. God. Jesus. Expiation. You don’t need some uber-hip exegesis over living in the moment and focusing on the journey. What you need is Christ. The Passover lamb. Don’t miss this. It’s crucial!
“For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.” (33.17-18 )
What an amazing picture of Jesus as eternal king and chief priest. Here we see Christ performing two of his offices. How easily we forget this. How easily we forget the sovereign who’s in control. How easily we forget the perfect mediator. We must never cease to marvel at all Christ has done and continues to do.
“The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me.” (35.17)
If the Rechabites can obey their mortal earthly father, why can’t we obey our heavenly eternal one? I hate how I sometimes give into that cheap grace mentality which says, “It’s okay to sin. You can just ask forgiveness later.” I wish, pray, that God’s glory, Christ’s perfect sacrifice, were at the front of my mind every minute. But instead I fix my eyes upon earth and do things of disobedience. I become concerned with my own ego or fame or pleasure and try to take the glory away from God. If only I could be focused, watch and pray, and avoid entering those temptations. Father, rest your glory in my heart and in front of my eyes forever, that I will not be distracted by other things which are less worthy.