Monday, September 25, 2006

The Radiance vs. The Veil

After Moses met God, his face shone with brilliant radiance - and he did not know it. The radiance was the latent presence of God. It was the residue and after effect of being in communion with God. He had been with God and it showed. But when he came down from the mountain, the people feared the radiance and were reluctant to approach him. Hence, Moses veiled his face when he spoke to the people God's commands and unveiled it when he spoke with God in the tent.

Moses had the after glow of God's presence, and the people were taken aback instead of being drawn towards it. They did not understand the radiance. It was a hindrance and distraction to them. It made them afraid.

However, when Moses was in the tent with God, that veil came off. There was no need of it. In the tent, the veil became the hindrance and the distraction. Moses' own face resonated with God's presence. Moses felt at home.

Moses hated that veil. That veil was the veil of compromise. He wore for it for the people's sake - because they did not welcome the radiance. Just like the veil in the temple that hid God's presence from the people, the Most Holy from the holy. It was erected for the people's sake.

Interesting that when God came down and revealed His Glory and Name to Moses, that entire narrative is encased in law and commands such that there is hardly a separation between God's presence and God's law. So often we only want the presence of God, the experiences and feelings, but we do not want His law. Sheesh.

Sometimes the commands of God are simply not welcome. Preachers are responsible to be faithful in communicating the text of Scripture, but the people will not accept it. So, it is sadly veiled. Compromised. The people don't want to hear that God's hates divorce, that fornication is wrong, that Jesus is the only Way, so these truths get veiled and the glow loses its brilliance. But just remember, that veil is not the way it ought to be.

This week in class I'll be preaching on 1 Tim 2:11-12 (women are to be silent and may not teach or have authority over men in the church). Yeah, yeah, yeah, no one wants to hear this one. After my exegesis on the passage, I wish I could come to a different conclusion than the one I came to. The temptation to bastardize the text and preach the exact opposite is great, but then I will not have preached God's word faithfully and will have wasted everyone's time including my own. But my reflection on the "veil" confirms that it's time for the veil to come off. It's time to be judged by the Word of God instead of running away from It.

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