In the Psalms David compares the scriptures to precious gems. I find that like a diamond, each time I examine a passage it shows a new fire, a new aspect that I hadn’t noticed before. Although unchanging, it always has a facet that I hadn’t seen in exactly that way before. This week when I read Hebrews Chapter 12 it was verses 18-29 that stood out to me in a new light. I’ve never thought deeply about this aspect of the passage before, possibly because the beginning of the passage is so full of deep and often preached truths. As I shared previously, this week I have been impacted by the holiness of God, and how a deeper understanding of His holiness gives up a deeper appreciation for the standing that we enjoy with him.
Verse 18 describes a mountain that burned with fire, darkness and tempest. (Thanks to Peter Jackson I have a great visual to go with that.) It describes a voice so terrible and awesome that people who heard it begged for it to stop. If an animal so much as touched the mountain it was to be killed. Even Moses trembled and was terrified. Moses who spoke with God almost face to face still trembled at God’s holiness. As a reader I feel that I am standing at the foot of this dark and terrible mountain looking up from the outside. I can be in awe of God, I can worship Him for His amazing power, but I am outside His holiness.
The author then describes another mountain, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Here the reader is described as coming into Mount Zion. We walk into the company of countless angels, into the general assembly of the church, to God the Judge and the spirits of just men made perfect. We see Jesus the Mediator, his blood sprinkled for us. In this scenario we are walking into something, we are accepted and made perfect. Such contrasting pictures help to remind me what a gift our standing with God is.
Under the law there was worship from afar. There was faith in the things to come, but not complete reconciliation. Sin still separated. Now we are accepted and welcomed. God has not changed, He is still the powerful, awesome, thundering God that Moses trembled before. But now we are made perfect though Christ and we can be accepted. A part of the assembly of saints and angels.
To be accepted by the all-powerful God of the universe. It’s not possible to wrap my mind around it completely. It feels like God is too big to fit in my mind all at the same time. Sometimes I feel I can only process one aspect of his character at a time. But this week I am meditating on His holiness. I want to see Him in His terrible glory, an all-consuming fire.

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