4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:4–5, NKJV).
There was no discernible difference between rocks and dirt on “the mountain of God” and the rest of the wilderness in which Moses tended his father-in-law’s flock (Exod. 3:1). So why was this place “holy ground?” Because God was there. His presence consecrated the ground, demanding reverent respect and obeisance of God from Moses. Later, God called Israel a “holy nation,” foreshadowing the church of Christ (Exod. 19:5-6; 1 Pet. 2:9). The “Most Holy” place of the tabernacle and temple was reserved for the ark of the covenant and mercy seat, and a veil separated it from the “holy place” (Exod. 26:33-34). The hope that anchors our souls is “both sure and steadfast” and “enters the Presence behind the veil” because Jesus our High Priest is in the holiest place (heaven), ministering over the house of God, His church (Heb. 4:14-16; 6:19-20; 8:1-2). God called Israel to holy living because He is holy (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2). Under the law of Moses, this included distinguishing between what was clean and unclean, profane and holy (Lev. 20:7, 25-26). The gospel calls us to regard the presence and holiness of God our Father fearfully. As obedient children, we must be holy in all our conduct because our Father is holy (1 Pet. 1:13-17). Take off your sandals; The place you stand is holy ground (Eph. 2:21; 1 Pet. 2:5).
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 46:4–7, NKJV)
Continuing to regard God as “our refuge” in the face of raging enemies and uncertain times, the psalmist contrasts the roaring waves of disturbances that rush at God’s people with the peaceful tranquility of streams of water that sustain and refresh “the city of God” (Psa. 46:3-4). God is in the midst of this symbolic city, protecting and providing for His holy ones as surely as the dawn breaks on each a new day. God’s power is unmatched. He has but to speak, and the earth melts away. While the kingdoms of men rise and fall, the dwelling place of the Most High God never falters. Today, God’s dwelling place with His people is the church, the redeemed who are saved by the blood of the Lamb and who are at peace with God and man (Eph. 2:14-22). “Do not be afraid” and “let not your heart be troubled” are the constant refrains of the Son of God as He calls on souls to strengthen their faith in Him (Lk. 5:10; 8:50; 12:7, 32; Jno. 12:15; 14:1). As did Israel in the Old Testament, even so now, the “Israel of God” (the church) has a peaceful refuge in the God of Jacob (Gal. 6:16).
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. (Hebrews 3:1–2, NKJV)
We are exhorted to give careful and complete consideration to the High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus. The high priest under the law of Moses was “taken from among men” and “appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb. 5:1). Aaron was called by God to fill this role (Heb. 5:4). By God’s oath, Christ was called by God as High Priest (Heb. 5:4-6, 10). Aaron entered a tabernacle made with human hands, there to offer animal blood for his sins and the sins of the people. But, our High Priest has entered heaven itself (the “true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man”), seated at God’s right hand (Heb. 8:1-2). He offered His own blood to God to atone for sins (Heb. 9:11-14, 23-26). By his freshly killed flesh, Jesus opened the way for sinners to have access to God’s mercy (Heb. 10:19-21). We draw near to God only because our High Priest offered His blood to God as a sacrifice for sins (Heb. 10:22). Now at God’s right hand, Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for “those who come to God through Him” (Heb. 7:25-28). Thus, Christians “come boldly to the throne of grace” and obtain mercy in our time of need (Heb. 4:16; 2:17-18). What an amazing High Priest is Christ Jesus (Heb. 7:26)!
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! (Psalm 84:10–12, NKJV)
This is a portion of a psalm of the sons of Korah, Levites who were charged with being doorkeepers of the God’s tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:19; 26:19-27). In it, they praise their appointment at the threshold of God’s house. Unlike their ancestor Korah who rebelled against God and dwelt in the tents of wickedness, they were content with being servants (Numbers 16:1-3, 26). One day in the service of God is more to be treasured than a thousand days without God. The most menial task in service to God and His house is important and does not go unnoticed by God. He is ever gracious to the person who serves Him with an upright heart and life. Humble yourself before the Lord and serve His purposes and His people, and He will exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:5-7). Such trust in the Lord brings present blessings and eternal glory.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:8–11, NKJV)
God’s constant desire is to dwell with His people. From the days in the garden, when God walked with Adam and Eve before their sin against Him, God has arranged the opportunity for men and women to share in His fellowship. The tabernacle of Moses and Solomon’s temple were places God accepted their service and “dwelt among them” (Exodus 25:8; Deuteronomy 12:5; 1 Kings 8:10-13; 9:3). Of course, these did not contain God (1 Kings 8:27). Today, He walks with His people in His temple, the church (Ephesians 2:16, 21-22). The dwelling places of God anticipate heaven (Revelation 21:3). It is sin that prevents walking with God, now and eternally. Reconciliation with God is available to you through the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6-11). You cannot walk with God while living in sin (1 John 1:6). Today is the day to put away your sin, and walk with God (2 Corinthians 6:16-17, 2).
Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1, NKJV)
We infer from the psalmist’s questions that not everyone dwells in the presence of the Lord. Furthermore, by merely asking, David acknowledges that it is God Himself who supplies the correct answer concerning who communes with Him. Man does not answer these questions for the Holy One of Israel. As we travel through life the Lord opens His tent to particular sojourners who meet His conditions, allowing them into His presence and offering them rest, refreshment and fellowship. God’s holy hill pictures the reigning Sovereign where He grants blessedness to all who wait before Him. Do you want the communion, rest and protection of God’s presence as you travel through life? If so, give ear to the inspired answers to David’s questions in the remainder of Psalm 15. We will look at those answers in the days ahead.