THE INCENSE, THE CLOUD AND THE VEIL… Exodus 30:1-10, 33:7-11, 34:29-35

Remember that gruesome scene in the film, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, where the evil Nazi opens the cover to the Ark of the Covenant, totally melting in the presence of God?  Made quite a mess of himself through his pride and arrogance!

As gripping as that scene is, it tells a tale of warning to all humanity.   Seek to be in the presence of Almighty God?  Be careful.   All hell could break loose.  I’ve been reading the Book of Exodus for my devotions.  Led me to think about three instances recorded by Moses.  The incense, the cloud and the veil.  All three of them keep God’s being at a distance from his people.  To separate us from Him.

Incense fills the air with thick smoke.  The cloud is filled with God’s glory but blocks vision of the Almighty.  The veil was used by Moses to cover his head and face, which glowed and glimmered after he had spent time with Yahweh God.  The people would not see the reflection of the Lord on Moses’ face.  Covered…for none to see.  But why?  What’s the point?

I’ve been mulling over these thoughts in my mind.  Why not see God face-to-face?  What’s so bad, after all?  Could this have gone back to what happened in the Garden of Eden?  Paradise lost.  Eden left behind.  Due to the sin of both Adam and Eve.  We’ll forget the blame-game they played.  The finger-pointing.  The ‘He made me’, ‘She made me’ excuses.  The equality of sin.

The ‘Fall of Mankind’ has left an indelible print of death on each of us.  No mistaking it as we look around at the fallen world we live in.  Or as we honestly gaze in the mirror of our own lives.  What do you see?   Sin-scarred, we are in grave danger if we find ourselves in the presence of God, who is holy and true through-and through.  We would melt away.  Evaporate.   A soul, forever separated from the God who created us.

God knows all about our being made of clay, soil and dust.  Fragile materials at best.  Here’s where the incense, the cloud and the veil come in.  They are His mercy.  His protection from harm that His presence may bring.  What seems unreasonable and unnecessary, is actually His love and care for us.

What God wants is our trust.  I’m going to thank Him today that I can’t see Him directly!  Sounds odd to say.  But it’s true–He’s protecting me.   But there will come a day, in eternity, when we’ll know the truth of 1 Corinthians 13: 12–‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face…'(KJV).  What a day that will be!  Amen?

Prayer:  Holy God, we bow before you in humility.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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