I sometimes have difficulty reconciling the God of the Old Testament, with the God I know. I’ve just read about this horrible string of events in Samuel:
- Israel was defeated in battle
- The Ark of the Lord was captured by the Philistines
- Eli the priest and his two sons died.
- The Philistine god Dagon was found bowing and broken before the Ark
- They were tormented with tumours and ‘the Lord’s hand was heavy upon them.’
- Cities were thrown into panic and they decided to send the Ark back.
- On its return to Israel, seventy men were killed when they looked into the Ark.
Imagine the people’s fear as they said ‘Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up to from here?’
I was meditating on this question as I turned my music on and was captivated by these words:
“Before the Throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea, a great High Priest whose name is love, who ever lives and pleads for me… I know that while in Heaven He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart.”
The fearsome God of Israel is no less the God of today, but while nations trembled and many died in his presence, we are invited into his very Throne room finding no condemnation, only grace.
The contrast is dramatic. How radically has Jesus Christ transformed the way we may relate to God!