Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trip of a Lifetime

"Moses, Aaron, Nabad and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the Lord God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank." Exodus 24:10-11

"So Aaron, how was your day today?"

"Oh, you know dear. Hung out with Moses and the guys. Went to heaven. Had lunch with God. Pretty nice place He has there."

That would have been one interesting conversation around the dinner table.

Think of it. These men went to heaven and shared a meal with God. This will rock our religious sensibilities when we consider that they weren't saved as we know salvation. None had trod the Roman Road nor learned and abided by the Four Spiritual Laws. They didn't declare Jesus is Lord because they didn't know who He was. They didn't confess He was raised from the dead because it was several centuries before the Resurrection. However, they all had an encounter with God that most Christians would drool over.

We should get upset and excited!

The Scriptures point out that God didn't raise His hand against these leaders of Israel. Fresh out of Egyptian bondage, the men were just getting acclimated to their new environment - freedom.

Previously surrounded by Egyptian religious practices and rituals the Israelites, in contrast, had no codified belief system. Their forefathers learned about God by the seat of their pants (robes to be more accurate). Slowly being exposed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exclusively, they were still very rough around the edges.

Some Christians may find this portion of the Bible disturbing. It defies long held sacred traditions. These were just ordinary men. Their lack of formal religious training would disqualify them for positions in many of today's churches. If asked were they saved, they'd probably reply, "Sure!" And they were. They'd escaped the clutches of Egyptian slavery. Their idea of a messiah/deliver would be Moses. They had no tabernacle/temple, sacrificial system, and no Day of Atonement. There they were, warts and all having lunch with God in heaven, and living to tell the tale. Unbelievers in heaven? Scandalous.

Maybe God's not as picky as supposed. Maybe He'll take the slightest hint of interest as an opportunity to reveal Himself in all His glory to a seeking soul. Testimonies of individuals having encounters with God in countries closed to the Gospel abound. If God will fellowship with unbelievers in this manner, should His sons and daughters expect less?

God's willingness to reveal Himself may be greater than we've believed. This text shows His love for the unsaved (at least as reckoned by our standards today). Compared to the well educated and thoroughly indoctrinated people in churches today, these men were ignoramuses (not a put down), but they saw God and ate with Him. How many Christians can make that claim?

How about you? Does this scripture strike a nerve, and if so...why? What sort of experiences with God should believers today expect to have? How would genuine encounters with God bolster your relationship with Him? If given the opportunity, would you take it?

p.s. Please do not misinterpret this post as propagating universalism. Salvation is only through Christ, Who is the only access to the Father. Space precludes me from expounding on how I think this was made possible. The point of this post is the encounter, and if we believers should expect less than what these men experienced, not the nuts and bolts of how God worked it out legally. 

No comments:

Post a Comment