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APPROACHING A HOLY GOD

The New Testament writers speak of a God who wants us to boldly approach His throne in prayer (Hebrews 10:22), but it can be easy for us on this side of the cross to forget what it took to give us that relationship.

 

Today’s reading from Numbers underlines the holiness of the living God in a way that should give us pause. God is serious about sin! In today’s passage we have a sin that required the death penalty (Num. 15:32-36), a sin that had no remedy (Num. 15:30-31), and a catch-all sacrifice for sins that we didn’t even know we committed (Num. 15:22-29)! So when Korah the Levite decided that he was holy enough to approach God without someone to intercede, we can see why God took quick action to answer his presumption (Num. 16:1-40). But we can also understand the people’s fear! 

 

That fear of the Lord should be the beginning of our wisdom as well (Prov. 1:7, 9:10). We serve a Holy God, and we don’t do so by our own merit. As we read through the crucifixion account in Mark 15, we realize that it is Jesus’s sacrificial death that has made us clean and opened the only way for us to enter into the Father’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-25). No one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). Praise God that He has given us this salvation!

 

 

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UNDERSTANDING GOD'S CHARACTER

Today’s NT reading in Matthew 16-17 takes Peter—and us—on a journey of understanding. The passage opens with Jesus asking the disciples who people say He is. Peter answers correctly: “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Yes! This is the confession that the church is built on!

 

But what exactly does that mean in terms of God’s character and plan? Here Peter needs some schooling, because he's fundamentally misunderstanding what Jesus is about. Peter is horrified to think that the Christ would have to suffer and be killed (16:22), and would rather have Jesus be worshipped up on a mountain, as an equal to Moses and Elijah (17:4). Fortunately, the Son and the Father are gracious enough to correct Peter: the Messiah must suffer, be killed, and be raised up on the third day (16:21); the Messiah is greater than the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), and is the one we need to listen to. 

 

Thank You, Father, for being gracious enough to correct me when my understanding of who You are and what You desire is contrary to the truth. Help me to humble myself and to listen to Your beloved Son today. Amen.

 

 

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