On Tuesday my family and I worked on extending the garden enough to get in four more short rows of corn and three short rows for beans. I had not realized just how long the endeavor ended up taking until I came back inside the house and sat in my chair. “Boy, my neck feels hot,” I thought as I leaned back. Then I realized that I must have gotten a nice sunburn on my face and neck.
That’s sunburn number two for me so far this year, although I am usually very careful to either cover up or put on sunscreen. The last time I got a sunburn was on a Saturday several weeks ago. I had put sunscreen on my arms and face, paying special attention to my ears, nose, and neck. I then spent the next several hours watching my two younger sons playing baseball, all the while thinking that I was safe. Late that afternoon I noticed that the lower half of my left arm was glowing red. Oops! I apparently missed a spot. Then later that evening, after our family had returned home, I ran a comb through my hair. Ouch! My whole scalp felt like it was on fire! Somehow I had gotten a sunburn through my hair! I guess things are a little thinner up there than I thought. I suppose I ought to make wearing a cap my habit from now on!
Turning red is normal for me whenever I get any amount of sun. Someone told me that it must be the Irish in me. But when I get a real sunburn, I practically glow in the dark. We don’t even need a nightlight in the house when I’ve not been wearing enough sunscreen!
All of this makes me think of Moses who, after extended visits with the Lord, would glow with an otherworldly light. In fact, so profound was his shining countenance that he had to cover his own face veiling the aura of holiness so that they could look at him.
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron (Moses’ brother) and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near to him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD” (Exodus 34:29-35 NIV).
Consider some of the amazing things about the communion that Moses enjoyed with God. First, there is the fact that although the Lord is beyond a man’s ability to apprehend Him with human senses or comprehend Him with human reason (in other words, “transcendent”), God presented His infinite, and therefore spiritually “indigestible” qualities in a manner that permitted Moses to experience God personally and deeply. This gentle touch and tiny glimpse comes from a God Who is otherwise simply too overwhelming for us to know. He nevertheless permits the hungry heart of humanity to see that there should be more to life than living for the moment, more to religion than ritual, and more to worship than praise choruses. God touched mankind through the life of Moses and introduced to the world a spiritual life that is the purpose for which each man and woman who has ever lived was created. In other words, you have been created to know God!
But just as amazing is the effect that the presence of God has upon the one who has entered it! The holy love of God radiated into the face of Moses and filled His countenance with divine energy. It not only worked on the inside of who he was, but literally emanated from him channeling authority and awe into his service for God! That holy “glow” emphasized that the One Who was working and speaking through Moses was God Himself and conveyed an awesome majesty upon the message that Moses then shared with the people of God.
Today’s Christian world needs a few more men and women like Moses. We need leaders who know both the ecstasy and the duty of fellowship with God to allow His truth to bring clarity to the vision of today’s church. We need those who have been met by the power and the wonder of intimacy with God to help the church in engaging the needs of those around us with the life-saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the whole world needs those who abide deeply in the presence of God to allow the light of His presence to shine through them into these dark and evil times, demonstrating that there is something real and incredibly authentic about the call of Christ.
The practical steps of fellowship with God are in our abiding in and obeying His Word, learning the wonder of true worship and dwelling in an ongoing attitude of prayer. Trusting His Son for salvation and then earnestly pursuing Him in every day life produces a change in appearance in us – not physically, but spiritually. And while it’s not exactly a sunburn, this is a “holy glow” you really don’t want to miss!